FRIENDS OF THE NATION
Friends of the Nation (FoN) is a Takoradi based non governmental, non-political organization established in 1993 with a vision of ensuring that future generations are offered the opportunity to enjoy an equal measure of utilization of environmental functions whilst contributing to global environmental sustainability. Founded on the premise of environmental sustainability, its core areas include Natural Resource Management, Environmental Health and HIV/AIDS. FoN envisages a world where communities’ takes key interest and invest valuable effort in managing the environment in a sustainable and healthy manner and where equal opportunities exist for everyone who directly or indirectly depend on natural resources. To this end it seeks to serve as a catalyst towards increased action for sustainable natural resource management and health environment, Service to wetland and forest dependent communities as well as poor urban communities through education, training, networking and advocacy.
FRIENDS OF THE NATION UNDER MWANANCHI-PHASE I
FoN under the Mwananchi project is focused on improving the decentralization of the fisheries sector which is the main source of greater portion of the population living in their two operating districts (STMA, Shama Ahanta District). The project seeks to further enhance coastal fishing communities’ participation in forming and implementing policies which directly affect them. In addition, it seeks to see livelihood rejuvenation and closer engagement between the government and coastal communities where fishing is the backbone of the economy. The project was carried out in the Shama District and Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis (STMA) of the Western Region of Ghana. The beneficiaries of the project were fishing communities threatened by declining fishing stocks, who are mostly poor and illiterate and government officials within the fisheries sector.
The PHASE I of the project have been successful in improving articulation of views and voices through the utilization of various print and electronic media. This has helped stakeholders to improve the understanding of their rights, responsibilities including the assertion of their rights where appropriate. For instance, in February, 2011 the Western Region branch of the Canoe Owners Association presented a petition to parliament to review the LI 1968 which in their opinion is unfavorable to the growth of the fishing industry.
Additionally, it has helped to bring stakeholders in the fishing industry and their allies to form the Regional Fisheries Working Group. The stakeholders and allies included the Fisheries Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Navy, Attorney General’s Department, Judicial Service and the Ghana Police Service. Their commitment to the success of the work of the group has been enormous.
Fisheries Commission has expressed interest in conducting a Canoe Framework Survey in Ghana using the Fisheries Development Fund. The last survey was carried out in 2004. This exercise is to gather/update relevant information on fishing issues in Ghana. Some Civil Society Organisations have also expressed interest in collaboration with FoN on fisheries issues and coastal issues. An example is CEWEFIA a local NGO who is currently working with fish mongers in Central and Western region.
FoN believes that there is the need to strengthen the collaboration between the stakeholders by undertaken more activities in order to achieve the desired impact. The extension is aimed at consolidating the collaboration between stakeholders in the fisheries sector as well as contributes to increased media discussion and reportage of coastal fisheries issues. By this it seeks to realize the following outputs:
- Institutionalize two Working Groups in the two districts (STMA and Shama)
- Collaborative Enforcement Programme instituted.
- Increased Awareness on Fisheries policies and regulations