Kwahu is a area of forest land in the Eastern Region of Ghana that straddles an escarpment that rises to a maximum of about 300m above sea level that runs through south-central Ghana. The area is one of outstanding natural beauty and features a number of waterfalls and other sites of cultural interest that are mostly unknown by all but the local people. An area of land has been identified as being ideal for development as a rural eco-village. It is a 1.5 mile drive down an unpaved road from the small town of Asakraka which is a 20 minute drive along a paved road, via the small town of Mpraeso to the main road that connects the capital city Accra to the second city Kumasi.
At the moment, the land is either dense forest or deforested land used for small scale agriculture. The local people who farm the land have little or no access to machinery or transportation. As a result, yields and the prices paid are low, almost to the point whereby harvesting Is not deemed worth the effort. Local people have considerable knowledge of the medicinal plants of the forest and there is a rich folk-lore and traditional spirituality of the forest which includes nature spirits, forest wizards and other alleged paranormal phenomena.
For more information on the history of Kwahu, please see http://okwahumanny.org/history-of-kwahu/
The Synergy Eco-Village
It is proposed to acquire a large tract of land for us as a Synergy Eco-Village which would provide a number of facilities and services of benefit to local people and visitors.
Proposed activities at the eco-village will be :
- Sustainable and organic agriculture projects, growing a wide variety of food crops and supporting local farmers to overcome the many obstacles they face by setting up farmers’ Co-Ops to purchase farm machinery and transportation. Crops to be grown will include food crops such as yam, cassava, plantain and corn, in addition to fruit such as bananas, oranges, pineapple, avocado, paw paw, mango and coconut. In addition to consuming the produce on-site, effort will be made to export to the western market where demand for fair trade and organic produce continues to grow. Working in partnership with the Agricultural Science department at the University of Capecoast, the Centre will also seek to farm crops such as bamboo and hemp which can be used to create hempcrete – an organic and ecological alternative to concrete and to research other crops which can be used to develop eco-building materials.
- Bamboo, which has considerable potential as a sustainable construction material, will be grown as well as hemp, which has multiple uses including the production of food oil, hempcrete (when mixed with lime), charcoal substitute for use in cooking and, with the necessary processing equipment, the production of paper, cloth and rope. Medicinal plants including those found in the nearby forest will be also be grown and further research into the healing properties of local plants will be undertaken in partnership with other Ghanaian herbal medicine research centres.
- An ecotourism and indigenous tourism facility in which visiting tourists and youth groups can study traditional drumming, dance, singing as well as learn about the medicinal plants, ecology and spirituality of the forest. The facility will be built from local, natural materials and will employ the latest eco-technologies in the generation of power and the management of waste.
- An enterprise development and support facility advising, nurturing and guiding local people in the running of their small businesses, focusing particularly on the agricultural, handicrafts and tourism sectors.
- A volunteering facility where young people from the West can work on environmental and development projects inspired by a strong ethos of sustainability and holistic health.
- A youth development facility where young people from deprived communities in the West can work with local young people on environment and development projects, engage in cultural exchange and receive personal development and life-coaching support.
- A Kwahu Synergy Youth Council, conducting informal education projects with local people to raise their vocational and life skills and developing exchange projects with other Synergy Youth Councils in Accra, Brighton and elsewhere.