As part of its efforts to help address challenges hampering the cocoa and forestry sectors in the country, Rainforest Alliance has taken another prudent step by introducing the Forest Watcher Mobile App in the Sui River landscape in the Western North Region of Ghana.
The Forest Watcher Mobile App uses an online monitoring and alert system of the Global Forest Watch (GFW) to view areas of interest in the field.
The use of this application is hoped to help conserve biodiversity, build climate resilience and reduce emissions from land-use changes in the Sui Landscape.
Speaking at a two-day training programme in Kumasi for 16 selected cocoa farmers on how to use the GFW application, the Manager, Landscapes and Communities at Rainforest Alliance Ghana, Kwadwo Nti Baniako explained the training session for the enumerators on GFW was part of two projects being implemented by Rainforest Alliance.
The projects include Landscape and Environmental Agility Across the Nation (LEAN) project.
It is a 4-year project funded by the European Union’s flagship Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) initiative that aims to conserve biodiversity, build climate resilience, reduce emissions from land use in Ghana and help smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods and also the Tech4Communities.
Another project is the Hybrid Community-based Monitoring System (HCMS) funded by Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) through ISEAL Innovation Fund which also aims to empower the Landscape Management Board to collect and manage data for decision making.
Abigail Frimpong, a Global Forest Watch Technology Fellow, World Resources Institute (WRI) Washington D.C, who was the facilitator for the workshop, explained that the training focused on discussions on the use of the Forest Watcher Mobile App, including data collection, analysis, forestry laws, map-reading techniques, advocacy and partnership building techniques.
“Day two was primarily for review of the previous day’s works and practising the use of the Mobile App in the field. Our aim is to set up a monitoring team and leverage existing initiatives to monitor and report forest infractions within the Sui River Landscape.
We believe that this will help provide aggregated data on causes of deforestation evidenced to the forest authorities and its time the government of Ghana invest more into forest monitoring through the use of modern-day technology which is very easy to use and leaves you with much time to do other important assignments,” she said.
The Project Lead for the HCMS project, Alvin Adu-Asare, explained that data on deforestation will be collected by the LMBs over 6 months period.
“This information will be used to draft an article to support advocacy strategies on deforestation within the Sui Landscape,” he mentioned.
A cocoa farmer and participant at the training from the Suhenso community in the Sefwi Wiawso Landscape, Damptey Evans Yamoah, expressed gratitude to Rainforest Alliance for equipping them with knowledge on how to utilize Global Forest Watch tools to monitor their designated landscapes against deforestation and wildfires.
“Through this workshop, our eyes have been opened to the use of technology for monitoring deforestation and wildfires. We know how to monitor off-reserve forests and report forest infractions with the use of GFW tools,” he added.
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