“Quick money! Quick money!!” this is but just one of the many thought running through the minds of most illegal mining operators’. Illegal small-scale mining popularly known in Ghana as ‘Galamsey’ is common practice in Ghana especially in rural and farming communities. It has easily attracted foreign nationals, local farmers and other artisans/traders of the quick financial returns it provides, despite its associated life-threatening dangers and risk to the environment. Unfortunately, majority of the ‘victims’ are young people who see the practice as a source of income due to high unemployment. This social surge has in recent years attracted national attention due to the implication on human life. What the narrative and national response has failed to do is proposing sustainable livelihood alternative for the many young people who are losing their sources of income.
There is no doubt that Galamsay poses a threat to national security and socio economic development particularly in affected districts and communities. Desertification, deforestation and degradation of Ghana’s land, poor waste management erosion, pollution of rivers and other water bodies, cannot be allowed to continue for even a day more. The narrative is clear with the many awareness and advocacy campaigns led by government and other civil society organization. It is obvious that the root cause of the problem is deeper than just stopping the act. While we propose an immediate halting of the act, we need to consider alternatives for the youth involved, engage the traditional and community leaders and develop local economies.
PACC policy has studied public discuss on Galamsay and propose the following:
Explore the provision of gainful, alternative employment to persons engaged in Galamsey. This is a sustainable solution to take the mind of the people from mining. The government’s One-District One-factory and the Agriculture for food and jobs campaigns should target Galamsay endemic communities to engage the youth
Engage traditional and community leaders through the National and regional houses of chiefs as well as the district assemblies to develop local economies and codes of practices to prevent the practice.
PACC policy is a climate change policy think tank, focused on working with public and private institutions on environmental and climate change projects. We are a team of self-motivated climate solutions enthusiasts from diverse professional background with a strong affinity to advocate, preserve and conserve the African environment through systematic thinking while working in line with national policies and international framework on climate change.
—- By Umar Danbaba Josiah
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