ActionAid supports families in Ghana affected by the construction of a dam

5th December 2013

The support we give to families in Ghana continues through ActionAid's The Next Step programme. The last letter we received was from 42 year old Judith Nsiah who now lives in Banda district after being forced to relocate for the construction of Bui Hydroelectric Dam. The Sinohydro Corporation of China chose to build a dam in Akanyakrom, Central Ghana where Judith and 250 families had lived for over fifty years, this resulted in a very painful experience for all those affected including Judith's five children.

Around 900 farmers lost their farmland to make way for the project and although they were told the government would compensate them for the destruction of crops and the loss of farmland they were offered only one acre and this proved to be land that was nowhere near as fertile. Not only were their farms their livelihood but they also provided food for the family, food they would now have to buy. Another significant effect of all this was that Judith could now no longer afford to pay her daughter’s school fees.

This is where ActionAid stepped in. In 2011 they organised a community forum to provide information regarding the need for the Government to provide timely financial compensation and basic amenities and at another forum they advised on the sensible use and investment of the compensation. Through ActionAid another meeting took place between the affected families, Government officials and Bui Power Authority (BPA) and as a result of this BPA drilled three boreholes and fitted hand pumps.

With the compensation Judith received she started selling smoked fish – a business that didn’t require huge capital and one that she could fit in with her other roles as a small-scale farmer and mother. Judith says, ‘many women in the community have heeded the advice of ActionAid and invested their compensation money; about 67 women are also in the smoked fish business- a booming industry with a large market. I’ve been able to renew the family’s health insurance and I’ve manage to send my eldest daughter to the Senior High School. Meda Ase (thank you) for your support’.

If you would like to consider supporting ActionAid, visit their website - http://www.actionaid.org.uk


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