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Reviewing our Roots from the ground up!

by admin on May 9, 2011

From the 18th to the 27th the Pan African COMPAS Network held a review of the programmes of its regional partners in Wa, Northern Ghana. The review was conducted in the context of the global COMPAS networks vision of “Self-sustaining communities, living in dignity, resilient to external and internal stresses, with a sense of belonging to their traditional worldviews”.

COMPAS partner CIKOD organised the Lawra Indigenous Food Festival. Each year the festival boasts an increasing variety of traditional foods making the community less dependent on single commerially viable cash crops.

Representatives from four organizations took stock of their work together in terms of systematizing their programme’s outputs, outcomes and impacts as they bring about positive changes in community well-being. These are the South African Endogenous Development Programme active in Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe, MVIWATA, a network of Tanzanian Farmers and Masai pastoralist, PROMETRA, a Ugandan institute promoting traditional medicine and healing practices globally and CICIK A Ghanaian NGO specializing in local development based on peoples worldviews in the upper east region and the host of the event, the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) active across Ghana.

On their way up to the Upper West Region of Ghana the party visited Forikrom community in Brong Ahafo Region where CIKOD has assisted a local NGO to revise traditional leadership. The paramount chief and the musicians of the communities gave its visitors a traditional welcome and showed them around their sacred caves ecotourism project. The chief explained how the Endogenous Development approach helped return benefits to the communities building on their own strengths.

In Wa the participants were joined by special guests in the person of the country Director of WaterAid, the regional minister of Environment and others. The review meeting led by Peter Gubbles from Groundswell International and Bas Verschuuren from the COMPAS network exposed the tremendous value of the work that the COPMPAS partners have been carrying out over the last three years. The meeting came to a close with a full day visioning exercise on the future of the COMPAS Africa Network and identified the areas of food sovereignty, Biocultural Community Protocols, Sacred Natural Sites Conservation, Traditional Medicine, Traditional Leadership and the development of Endogenous Development Training Courses as important nodes securing the networks contribution to the future of Africa.

With a view on south to south learning the COMPAS partners participated in a celebration of indigenous food by the Lowry District Association of Women Farmers involved in reviving traditional seeds and foods supported by CIKOD. The dazzling variety of food and dishes formed the core of an educational exposition and a very tasty lunch for the entire village, visiting honourables and our guests from abroad.

By Bas Verschuuren (COMPAS) and Peggy Flanagan (CIKOD).

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