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The Western Region Coastal Foundation (WRCF) is an innovative organisation that encourages an effective dialogue between oil, gas, and power (OGP) companies, other extractive industry actors, local communities, and the government in six districts in the Western Region of Ghana, to identify and resolve issues facing these communities. WRCF leverages stakeholder financial and in-kind contributions and corporate social investments through a market systems development approach to address improved stability and socio-economic development concerns of communities.

The aim of WRCF is to build trust between communities, government, and industry in the six coastal districts and to help government and industry develop interventions so that the community at large can benefit both economically and socially from the presence of the oil, gas, and power industry. This will lead to increased stability and inclusive development prospects in the Western Region.

The Dialogue Platform

In its first year of operations, December 2015-2016, the Foundation has strengthened its knowledge of local issues and further developed our innovative dialogue platform. Through our platform, we have directly reached 64,000 people in 181 communities. Over 1000 issues have been documented and identified classified into broad themes, which furtherto inform our actions choices when planning and designing development interventions.

An important part of the community dialogue programme is also its feedback mechanism, which increases community cohesion and reduces conflict and tensions.

Common issues prioritised by communities through the dialogue platform have included sanitation, environmental risks, economic development, infrastructure, and water.

Aquaculture Pilot

In 2016, WRCF worked with four fish farmer associations and the following partners to implement the aquaculture intervention: Fisheries Commission; Kpemli Ventures; Ranaan Fish Feed Limited; Carmeuse Lime Products; and Water Research Institute (WRI). Collectively, the partners contributed in-kind support totalling £10,191.

A key part of the initiative was the incorporation of climate change adaptation strategies in training sessions, including the fencing and covering of ponds and the use of a concreteised outlet system known as the ‘monk.’ The team also collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to movre associations towards regulatory compliance. The associations are currently awaiting issuance of EPA permits.

As the first harvests begin in February 2017, we expect to see increased incomes for farmers and their communities.

Supporting Corporate Social Responsibility

WRCF also supported a number of Corporate Social Responsibility projects in 2016, including the development of a Monitoring & Evaluations plan for the Jubilee Partners’ Livelihood Diversification and Support Project, and conducting a fisheries assessment for Vitol Foundation.

WRCF also began work on Ghana Gas’ Right of Way project (ROW). Working with Ghana Gas’ Community Relations Team, in 2017, WRCF will help to identify and create potential community based enterprises to monitor and provide landscape maintenance along the pipeline. Preparations began in 2016, including a baseline survey of the communities living along the pipeline. WRCF will also use survey data to support any future livelihoods initiatives by Ghana Gas.

Finally, in 2016, WRCF continued the scoping of the technical education space that had begun in 2015. Although there are employment opportunities for highly skilled technical workers in the extractive industries, locally trained Ghanaians often fail to meet industry standards. WRCF is working on an intervention to upgrade trainers and improve teaching standards at local Polytechnics and Technical Institutes. Working with Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Corporate Professional Industrial Training, as well as Ghana Government bodies such as the Ministry of Energy and the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training, WRCF completed an intervention design and will begin presenting project proposals to potential donors in 2017.