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Community-Protected Areas

Ghana is not famous for its wildlife and the government’s desire to expand tourism, while recognizing it was not strongly competitive, may have helped create support for one of the most radical experiments on the continent – NCRC’s Community Protected Areas (CPAs). Now one of most successful alternative conservation initiatives in Africa with a 10 year track record, CPAs are an attractive alternative to conventional state-driven conservation. The CPA model has won strong endorsement by both the government & traditional chiefs.

Communities in Ghana own their land and thus control its biodiversity, culture & tourism potential. Indigenous cultures are also rich in pro-conservation measures and have a strong ethic of hospitality. But Ghana’s rural communities are poor, have low levels of formal education and minimal available capital. NCRC saw an opportunity to partner with communities to link conservation, ecotourism development and poverty reduction.

CPAs established in partnership with NCRC are 100% owned and controlled by traditional leadership and host communities. Each CPA is directed by a Management Board with representatives from each involved community. There is strong collaboration with governmental and NGO technical advisory groups. While there was initial skepticism from government and civil society groups about the capacity of community leaders to manage these ventures, financial support for pilot projects was secured from USAID, the Calgary Zoological Society and other international foundations and corporations.

NCRC first CPA location was Wechiau in Ghana’s Upper West Region. This pioneering project can now document significant success after a decade of effort.  In the past four years NCRC has been replicating the CPA approach in five additional locations including Avu Lagoon, Afram Arm, Asumura, Boabeng-Fiema, Tafi Atome and Nyankamba Escarpment.  Results are very encouraging at these replication sites.


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