Introducing FMNR concept in Schools: children as agents of change in Ghana

July 25, 2014

World Vision Ghana has inaugurated ten school clubs in the Garu–Tempane District and trained its members in Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) concept as part of measures to help scale up interest of the children on environmental issues. The training which attracted 116 participants across the 10 school clubs comprised 67 boys, 39 girls and 10 teachers who are patrons of these clubs.

The FMNR is an ecological restoration project and involves selecting and pruning stems regenerating from stumps of naturally grown trees on the field to give fewer ones more space to grow. This stimulates faster growth of the trees. The FMNR project, which begun in the Talensi District under the leadership of Norbert Akolbila and Peter Abugah (both former staff members of World Vision Ghana) has yielded positive results. Speaking during the training session at Garu, I explained that children were good agents of change and therefore introducing the concept to them would help scale up the FMNR to many more communities in the district. I added that it was good to “catch them young with this initiative as they were the ones who would suffer the consequences most from the hazards of environmental degradation in future”. 13 communities in the District had already been hooked to the FMNR including as Karateshie, Natinga, Wanwago, Susudi, Zamballa, Goam, Tariganga, Benwoko, Nyosbara, Konkomada Zawsi, Duadiyeriga, Arugbal and Kugashiegu.

The rest of the communities where the clubs were initiated were new to FMNR and expressed optimism that the concept would work very well in the area to solve the numerous problems associated with the environment. Most farmers in the area have enjoyed multiple benefits from the FMNR including getting fodder to feed animals, rafters to roof buildings and medicinal plants. The school children are not left out of the benefits because they could feed on different types of fruits produced through the FMNR whenever they were hungry.

As result of the successes chalked by the FMNR, World Vision Ghana has replicated the concept in its operational areas in the Upper East Region including the Bawku West, Kassena-Nankana and the Garu-Tempane Districts.
As part of the training programme, an expert in FMNR, Mr Norbert Akolbila, who facilitated the programme took the children through power point presentation on FMNR. The participants were later taken to the field to have a practical feel of what FMNR was all about. They were taken through the various steps of the FMNR concept which included; selection of desired tree stumps, the removal of unwanted stems and side branches as well as cut-ting emerging new stems and pruning side branches from time to time. The Club Members and Patrons were facilitated to develop their own roles and responsibilities. These among others included sensitizing and educating their colleagues on the importance of trees to mankind, club members to educate their peers and community members on the dangers of bush fires, educate community members on the proper way of pruning as well as help in scaling up the FMNR in the district.

The Facilitator entreated the patrons to guide the clubs in the full execution of the FMNR activities to ensure its success in the District. The independent Community Development Facilitator and Trainer impressed upon the Garu-Tempane district and officials of the Ghana Education Service to encourage and provide support to the School clubs and the patrons.

Francis Gumah is an employee of World Vision Ghana and the Garu Tempane ADP Manager. He has the passion to re-greening the minds of the young to sustaining the environment.