Farmers and their workers in Asantekrom, a rural community in the Jaman North District of the Bono Region, must cross the Tain River daily to tend to their crops in the Tain II Forest Reserve. Until late 2022 a poorly designed and rickety wooden pedestrian bridge was their closest access to the reserve.
In the dry season, the river dries up, and it is easy and safe to cross. The story is entirely different in the rainy season, especially when the river swells and threatens to sweep the bridge away.
The bridge was a hazard. It had no handrails, the access paths submerged when it rained, the slats were loose, and the gaps between them were wide and uneven, making walking difficult.
The community is on the fringe of Form Ghana's Berekum plantation, which includes the Tain II Forest Reserve. Villagers and Form Ghana's employees tried not to use the bridge and warned their children that it was too dangerous to attempt to cross.
They were forced to walk kilometres out of their way to the next crossing point or spend money on unreliable and often unsafe taxis. The social impact on the villagers was huge. Farmers experienced harvesting and transport delays which meant they could not earn a living, and it wasn't easy to support their families. The company's workers were frustrated because they were often late for work. In late 2022 the municipality removed the bridge because of the danger it posed. Asantekrom's elders and community leaders formally requested Form Ghana’s assistance to rebuild the footbridge linking the community to the Tain II Forest Reserve. Form Ghana agreed.Work on the bridge began on 25 January 2023. It was a team effort. Young men from the community felled the trees for the support pillars. They assisted Form Ghana's engineering and construction teams erect the new bridge. It was completed on 7 April, and on 26 May 2023, a celebration ceremony was held. On behalf of the Asantekrom community, the Chief Representative and Assembly Member thanked Form Ghana for its willingness to support the community. They emphasised their commitment to maintaining a good relationship with the company.
Paul Ontoaneyin, the Environmental and Social (E&S) Manager and E&S Officers Evelyn Affreh and Bismark Adjei Manu represented Form Ghana. Ontoaneyin explained that a vital part of Form Ghana's mission is to serve the needs of local communities to improve livelihoods.
The Board and management team ensure that Form Ghana fulfils its social responsibility by selecting and implementing developmental projects that meet the needs of communities, ensure a fair distribution of benefits between the fringe communities, and are within the company's scope.
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