Monday, June 2, 2014

Eco-dreams becoming reality

TradeAID want to bring Ecotourism to Bolgatanga, and the INCOME project are researching into this possibility and starting to make it a reality. 

The last cohort started to look into the creation of an Ecotourism programme involving the craft makers in Bolgatanga. This current group of ICS volunteers took these ideas and decided to go further with it. Research has been conducted in order to identify the basket weavers' community to use for this programme and to find possible candidates that could provide home-stays and teach the beautiful art of basket weaving to tourists.  


Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile and relatively undisturbed natural areas. It is intended to have a low-impact on the environment and is often a small scale alternative to standard commercial (mass) tourism. Ecotourism programmes mainly aim to provide funds for ecological conservation, to benefit local communities through economic development and empowerment, and to provide an opportunity to learn from different cultures while fostering respect for human rights.

Since the 1980s, ecotourism is seen as critical to ensure that future generations may experience conserved natural areas that also improve the well-being of local people. Over recent years, Ghana has emerged as a pioneer in the field of community-based ecotourism, which aims to create a mutually beneficial three-way relationship between conservationists, tourists and local communities. The Boabeng-Fiem Monkey Santuary in the Brong Ahafo Region, home to sacred troops of mona and black-and-white colobus monkeys, led the way in 1995, and it remains the flagship for more than two dozen other community-based tourism projects countrywide.

Another dimension of ecotourism is the home-stay package which is a form of tourism and/or study abroad that allows a visitor to rent a room from a local family in a homelike setting. It is sometimes used for improving language skills and getting familiar with the local lifestyles. Home-stays can occur anywhere in the world, but certain countries encourage home-stays as a means of developing their tourism industry. Hosting a home-stay participant also allows the local family to earn income.

Some inhabitants of the Vea community that were interviewed on
the Home-stay Ecotourism programme

Basket Weaver Home-stays in the Vea community

This cohort has decided to focus on the aspect of home-stay for this ecotourism project. As a result, our Ecotourism programme will centre on Vea, a village in the Bongo District in the Upper East Region, where this home-stay concept will begin and be built up. A series of meetings have been held with the inhabitants of the area and they have fully embraced the idea of home-stays. We have been interviewing them on areas regarding the conditions of their home. As a result it has received huge recommendation from Tahiru one of the leaders from the group, the community, as well as the host families due to the sustainability content of the project. Five houses have been scouted to start this project. 

This fantastic ambitious idea is beginning to become a reality...

Little drops of water makes a mighty ocean, some says a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, they are all right but I think determination leads to success. With the little effort put in and the mighty step we take towards this project, we will achieve success. 

By Desmond (In-country ICS volunteer on the INCOME Project)

P.S. Look how beautiful Vea is:

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