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February 16, 2021 - BY Admin

Biodiversity Conservation of Mole National Park’s periphery through Community-based Resource Management and Green Livelihoods Development : The NORTHCODE- Story

The Coalition for the Development of Northern Ghana (NORTHCODE) is a Ghanaian non-governmental organization. It works in the field of biodiversity conservation and rural development in the Jelinkon Community Resource Management Area (CREMA). It is located on the outskirts of the Mole National Park (MNP - about 4840 km²), in northern Ghana in the savannah region.

The Park and, to a lesser extent, the CREMA in Jelinkon still host an important biodiversity heritage of international conservation interest. Thus, 5 plant species and as many endemic butterflies have been recorded there.  More than 93 species of mammals (elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, buffon and fassa cob, lion, baboon...), 400 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians and 33 species of reptiles are also found there. The whole area evolves in savannah landscapes inhabited in particular by Parkia (Parkia biglobosa) and Karite (Vitellaria paradoxa), two trees of vital economic and nutritional interest (especially in the dry season) for the local communities. 

Unfortunately, as is often the case, this biodiversity is threatened by local anthropogenic pressures: bush fires, poaching, wood trafficking for international markets (e.g. rosewood), agriculture, overgrazing, unreasonable harvesting activities, etc.   

In order to alleviate this and guarantee the ecological integrity of the Park, NORTHCODE now intends to work towards more inclusive and efficient governance and management of natural resources. On the other hand, NORTHCODE wants to develop "green" livelihoods in the peripheral areas of the reserve. To support this, NORTHCODE received a grant from the PPI in February 2020.

Thanks to this grant, NORTHCODE has been able to support the organization, personalized training and equipment of 220 honey producers, 65% of whom are women and 35% men.  During the training, particular emphasis was placed on the harvesting and packaging of honey to guarantee sanitary and taste quality, improving competitiveness and the added value of the finished product.

 Photo 1 and 2: Jelinkon CREMA women processing their honey with locally made extractors

During the same period, all former Community Resource Management Committees (CRMCs) and CREMA Executive Committees (CECs) were reorganized to be more efficient and functional. In addition, 50 community members were selected and trained (with logistical and technical support from Parc Mole) as CREMA patrol boats. They are now able to continuously monitor illegal activities in the core areas of CREMA.

A community nursery has been established and 10,000 seedlings of local tree species (kapok, balanites and parkia) have been produced and transplanted to degraded CREMA lands.

Photo 3: CREMA Patrollers feeding seeds in the Yoliyiri nursery located in CREMA

Finally, to strengthen the links between the different actors (NGOs, traditional authorities, government agencies, etc.) of CREMA Jelikon and Mole Park, NORTHCODE organised several experience-sharing workshops as well as a one-day safari in the Park for community members.  This was a unique experience for the community members, some of whom were discovering for the first time the beauty and atmosphere of a well-protected reserve. In the longer term, NORTHCODE plans to continue and expand its activities in support of patrol boaters and honey producers and intends to work more on mobilizing resources from philanthropists and donors