It was all joy at Saamang, Abompe, Dome, Hemang, Nsutam, Dwenase, Bosuso and Kplandey in the Fanteakwa South district as well as Asikam and Ahwenease in Abuakwa South of the Eastern region of Ghana when these communities signed grant agreements with Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA), an NGO, to carry out various development initiatives. Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA), a non-profit-making organization is facilitating the execution of self-help programs and projects in ten communities in Abuakwa South and
Fanteakwa South districts of the Eastern region of Ghana.

The excitement and enthusiasm demonstrated by these community members during the signingof the grant agreement are ample testimonies of their resolve to pursue their vison in line with the medium-term development plan of the Fanteakwa South district assembly.
ACA is partnering with the Fanteakwa South and the Abuakwa South district Assemblies to support Ghanaian mining communities to implement the Facilitated Collective Action Process (FCAP), a process that was developed and popularized in East Africa by ACA’s partner
organization, Spark MicroGrants.

FCAP is part of ACA’s community-driven development strategy, which encourages communities to create a common development vision and equips them with skills and financial resources – including a USD 9,000 microgrant–to pursue it.

Each community is receiving a $9,000 grant from ACA to pursue sustainable development projects that will put these communities, which are threatened by extractive development, incontrol of their own development and give them the tools to advocate for their own vision of the
In line with the District Assemblies’ medium-term plans, Hemang, Dwenase and Kplandey have prioritized the construction of mechanized boreholes while Dome is putting up a CHPS Compound (mini clinic that typically provides primary health care services).
For residents of Asikam, a maternity block is urgently needed to increase access to maternal health services and further facilitate the process of upgrading their CHPS Compound to a health centre, while their counterparts at Nsutam consider a mini market as their priority. Classroom blocks are to be built at Saamang and Ahwenease.

Community members of Abompe and Bosuso are investing their grants in income-generating ventures to create employment and wealth among themselves. While the people of Abompe are going into poultry farming, their counterparts in Bosuso are venturing into the production of soap in commercial quantities.“I have learnt a lot from ACA over the last four months as regards project implementation and
management. Thanks to ACA’s engagements with us, we are clear in our minds in taking our destiny into our hands and mobilizing resources toward a common goal. My community arrived at a consensus that we should have a health centre and we remain committed to ensuring the successful implementation of our project”, Gideon Ofori Boakye, the Assembly member for Asikam Electoral Area said after the signing of the grant agreement.
“This project will go a long way to help the community as this maternity block, which is about to be built, forms part of the broader plan to upgrade our CHPS compound to a health centre to improve access to good quality health care.” The Mmrateehene (chief of young males) of Asikam, Obed Ofori Ansah also had this to say: The engagements between ACA and the local assembly and the community over the last few months have broadened our horizon on several issues. For instance, we learnt about effective planning and implementation of community-based projects. We are so grateful to ACA and its partners for the good work done so far.”

Already, Sagyemase, Juaso and Nsuapemso in the Eastern region as well as Donkro Nkwanta, Kyeredeso, Nwoase and Sallamkrom in the Bono East region have benefited from the FCAP microgrant projects while plans are underway to add 20 more communities in the Nkoranza
South municipality.
“Following the roll-out of FCAP in my community, Segyemase, we were first trained in how the whole process works. The training, among others, gave us more insight into how we, as a people, could come together, mobilize resources and, with one accord, take our destiny into our hands”,
Emmanuel Akyeamadu, a beneficiary of FCAP in Segyemase near Osino said. He added: “We came together as a community and contributed through communal labour to ensure cost-effectiveness in the execution of the CHPS Compound project, with ACA assisting with the cedi equivalent of $9,000 at the time, which was about Gh.c 52,000.”

In all, ACA intends to replicate the process in a hundred communities across Ghana’s mining regions in the coming years. ACA has also sponsored CDD projects in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Through FCAP, communities have successfully built key infrastructures, including clinics and community centers, and start-up collective enterprises, such as rice farms and black soap manufacturing.