THE FOREST CARETAKER CONCEPT
THE FOREST CARETAKER CONCEPT
Touton is convening a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) in cocoa-forest landscapes to develop and pilot a landscape-wide governance framework as part of efforts to reverse the trend of deforestation and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The initiative seeks to establish a landscape governance structure stretching from the community to the landscape level which has oversight of land use management, forest protection, improved cocoa productivity and farmers’ livelihoods. Stakeholders in the PPP are amongst others the Ghana Forestry Commission, the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), SNV, AgroEco, the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC), Tropenbos Ghana, Solidaridad, Proforest, Conservation Alliance, Rainforest Alliance, Forest Investment Programme, Traditional Authority and established Landscape Management Boards in the communities.
As a symbol to demonstrate the teamwork involved in the implementation of project activities, the Project is organizing a Football Gala dubbed “Forest CareTakers’ Cup” as part of its awareness-raising campaign.
The objectives of the event are:
- To sensitize communities about the ambitions of the landscape project (approach), interventions and benefits
- To create awareness about the link between deforestation and cocoa production as well as other economic activities in the landscape
- To create awareness about landscape governance, tree and land tenure rights issues, and rule of law
- To create a core youth group of forest caretakers/protectors from amongst the players who will be readily available to assist forest protection activities working in close collaboration with the Forestry Commission.
- To set up a safeguard and reporting system for communities to report on forest health and its activities annually
The expected outcome of the event is to foster the development of a community of good will and understanding around the importance of forest preservation. Communities can then be solicited as actors of positive change to stop deforestation and adopt climate smart cocoa production practices.
These activities also build on the private sector’s contribution to social safeguards and SDG 16 which targets to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Working as a team builds trust. The football team is used as a metaphor to enthuse and engage all involved, from farmers and their service providers to COCOBOD and large corporates. Because all involved become part of the same team, trust will build between the different landscape actors.
Annual gala matches per the inserted photos below are organised among forest fringe communities that form part of an entire landscape management board that has a framework agreement with the PPP to commit to stop encroachment and deforestation. During the events, stakeholders provide updates of achievements so far, strategize for forest protection and commission a team of guards to protect forests reporting to the chiefs and Forestry Commission.
Our aim is also to set-up a Junior League for FCBJ, which would organise football events for children from forest-fringe communities. These events could be supported by clients (potentially including school sponsorship support for fund-raising – i.e. for planting shade trees in the winning team’s community).