For the past five years, ACA has been working with communities in Ghana’s Bono East and Eastern Regions to help them realize their own development vision while avoiding the economic and social ills associated with unsustainable mining practices. While ACA’s projects usually center around a micro-grant to each community and the community’s efforts to marshal its own resources, a number of the partner communities have now been turning to a new source of support: their own compatriots in the diaspora.
Known as Project Brafie (“come home” in the local Twi language), this new initiative encourages communities to strengthen ties with their relations outside of Ghana, inviting them to come home, contribute to the community, and help the community realize its development vision. So far, ACA partner communities have re-connected with expatriate Ghanaians in Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands, as well as locals who have left the village to live in Accra.
Donkro Nkwanta, in the Nkoranza South Municipality of Bono East Region has received tremendous feedback from the diaspora through Project Brafie. ACA has facilitated the community’s initiative to build a community center, and members of the diaspora contributed $4,700 cash towards the construction.
Encouraged by the success of the ACA project, the people of Donkro Nkwanta have continued to turn to the diaspora for community investment. So far, expatriate natives of Donkro Nkwanta have built four washrooms for the community clinic, fenced the facility as a safety measure to improve health in the community provided funds to construct a 4-unit classroom block, provided a signpost for the town’s police station and secured 110 bulbs to serve as streetlights for the town to further improve security.
Juaso, a village in the Fanteakwa South District of Eastern Region, is implementing a black soap manufacturing operation as part of its partnership with ACA. Through sustainable production that capitalizes on the waste products of the village’s traditional industries – cocoa and plantain growing – they are building resilience to external threats, including the mining companies that threaten their land and livelihoods.
One element of the black soap project is the construction of a production house. Through Projet Brafie, the people of Juaso have identified a native of the town who works with GHACEM, a leading cement producer in Ghana. Discussions are now underway between the community and their native son to draw on GHACEM’s Corporate Social Responsibility program to complete construction of the production house.