The Chief of Akotom in the Prestea –Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region, Nana Tweneboah Kodua lll has lauded the government of Ghana for the introduction of the National Alternative Empowerment and Livelihood Program (NAEL) for illegal Miners.
He believed this has come to help address the issues of galamsey in the area and he was positive the programme will facelift the town with economic development.
Speaking at a short ceremony when the National Coordinator and the contractor for the Project paid a working visit to Akotom site, Nana Tweneboah Kodua lll asked the government to extend the project to accommodate more unemployed youth since Western Region is tagged to be the headquarters of galamsey activities with majority of the youth engaged in illegal mining.
NAEL is an initiative that would help provide alternative sources of livelihood for illegal miners who have been stopped from engaging in wanton destruction of water bodies and the entire environment.
The programme has six modules namely: National Land Reclamation and Re-Afforestation Programme, Agriculture and Agro-Processing, Apprenticeship, Skills Training and Entrepreneurship, Responsible, Viable and Sustainable Small-Scale Community Mining, Mine Support Services and Community Enhancements Project.
At Akotom, a 10 acre of Land has been cleared for the raising of 3 million seedlings of different species like Mahogany, Wawa, Sapele, among others. This program is projected to give 500 direct and indirect jobs to the town folks.
Before Akotom, the team also inspected a cleared area of land at Adinkra in the Ashanti Region which is being prepared under NAEL Project.
The National Coordinator of NAEL, Dr Carol Serwaa Donkor said it’s the vision of the government to reduce unemployment among the youth especially those in mining communities hence the initiative.
She added the government is poised to sustain the project to capture more youth.
The Contractor of the Project, Mr. Richard Ekow Quansah of Richie’s Plantation Limited in an interview with Peacefmonline, said if the youth would commit to the programme, their lives would change since the programme comes with a lot of benefits.
Mr Quansah implored the beneficiaries to work hard and make their new found life worth living to entice other illegal miners to join the programme.
Fnally, some of the beneficiaries who were once involved in illegal mining, recounted the stress and difficulties they used to encounter during their galamsey activities describing it as awful.
“We will spend days, sometimes more than a week in a galamsey pit digging for gold irrespective of the dangers involved,” one beneficiary hinted.
‘I’m very grateful to the President for honoring this promise, in fact after hearing this programe I moved to this town to partake and honestly, after working for some days I have realized this work is more stress-free as compared to the galamsey work," another beneficiary also added.
Source: Sampson Kwame Nyamekye/Kumasi
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