Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Local Chapter of Transparency International (TI), has raised awareness and educated community members in New Abirem on mining conflicts and how to address such issues when they occur.
The one-day workshop also aimed at actively involving the community members in mining decision making processes and sensitized them on the damaging effects of corruption and how to identify, assess, and tackle corruption risks.
Mr Jacob Ahuno, Project Coordinator for GII, speaking at the workshop, indicated that the TI had developed a Mining Award Corruption Risk Assessment (MACRA) tool to help pinpoint where, why, and how a mining licensing process was vulnerable to corruption.
He noted that the GII, through the TI, has engaged government, industries, and civil society organisations in the fight against corruption and assured that together with the institutions, GII would build transparent, accountable, and democratic strategies to fight corruption.
Mr Kweku Afari, Programmes Officer for Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), said mining companies should ensure to go by a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) before approaching communities to address mining issues.
He explained that the FPIC was a principle which gave a community the right to give or withhold its consent to proposed projects that may affect the lands they customarily owned and occupied.
Mr Afari said companies must always provide information on the social and environmental impact of the planned mining activities to community members before mining and advised women to massively participate in mining decision processes to help arrive at convenient conclusions.
Nana Asantewaa Nkyemaa, Queen-mother of Hwekwai, said the area had witnessed continuous conflicts between mining companies and community landowners and called on the GII to continuously educate residents on how to tackle mining issues for peace to prevail.
The workshop drew participants from Unique Women’s Group at New Abirem, Umbrella Youth, Olive Foundation, Association of Small Scale Miners, and the Community Development Unit at the District Assembly.