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Ecosystem Services and Rural Economy

Development, particularly, in the rural areas is heavily dependent on the wise use of ecosystem services to promote rural economic growth. Rural people in Sub Saharan Africa have witnessed failed economic policies of structural adjustments and economic reform theories, and unattained concepts of ‘sustainable livelihoods approaches’, all of which could not eliminate poverty. In fact rural poverty increased in Africa over the past four decades, during which there were numerous development problems such as environmental degradation, desertification, droughts and floods.

These problems were exacerbated by African governments’ adoption and enforcement of inappropriate, western style environment and development policies, seen as major drivers of ecosystem degradation.  In northern Ghana, degradation of landscapes and drying up of previous perennial rivers such as the Red Volta River are evidence of ecosystems degradation, which caused the decline in rural economic growth and resulted in increased poverty and food insecurity for rural families.

New & Strategic programmes

COMWELF’s current development programmes reflect our passion for sustainable grassroots development and outline our efforts and joy in engaging, listening and working with local stakeholders to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We recognise that achieving the SDGs is not the prerogative of one organisation, so COMWELF is working with various stakeholder organisations to make major contributions to growth and development. Therefore our goal is to support local communities sustain ecological and economic functions of rural and urban ecosystems. Ecosystems provide the material bases, which can be harnessed and developed to meet all the MDGs.  We apply the ecosystem approach to sustainable development and empower local communities to take decisions and actions that promote the conservation of ecosystem services. We employ social-ecological approaches to promote sustainable development through rural financial security, capacity building, research and communication.

Programme Goal and Objectives

The goal is to promote more productive ecosystems to improve human wellbeing, while enhancing adaptive ecosystems management practices. The strategy is to adopt partnership working to enhance participatory processes, which involve all key stakeholders in ecosystems management. As part of this strategy COMWELF and partners have identified the ‘Alternative Rural Integrated Livelihoods Approach (ARILA)’ to stimulate economic development in rural and sub-urban areas. The outcomes of the ARILA Programmes will meet human welfare and ecosystem conservation needs. The programme is based on the UN-REDD Conceptual Framework and will tackle the root causes of increased emissions, degradation and deforestation such as the annual wildfires in the transition and savanna regions.

The objectives of ARILA in the 5-Year Ghana Programme include: (1) Promoting Sustainable Agriculture for poverty reduction (food & nutrition security, and income generation); (2) Empowering young people and women in linking biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation to livelihoods; (3) Supporting women to harness sustainable rural energy resources in savanna and transition zones; (4) Improving availability of freshwater resources to poor households in the drylands; (5) Improving solid waste and sanitation for rural and sub-urban communities.

Details of the Ecosystem Services & Rural Economy are being uploaded to the Publication page; please check soon. We are currently inviting partners (donors, research, academic, civil society and private sectors) to join COMWELF implement this programme. Partners may select one or more of the five objectives to participate. Alternatively, partners may suggest alternative objectives which complement ours in conservation and wise use of ecosystem services for poverty alleviation, food security, economic development, and so on. Our doors are open to other people’s ideas which match our broad goal of promoting productive ecosystems in fragile environments. Please contact us funding@comwelf.org or partnership@comwelf.org for discussion about how you can support the programme.


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