Wednesday, May 04, 2011 11:58:10 PM
IWMI’s Project Leader of the Ghana Dams Dialogue, Liqa Raschid-Sally, was caught by surprise during a recent visit to a research area in Ghana on 28 April, 2011. Liqa arrived at Bui expecting a small community meeting at which she would share the outcomes of the third phase of the Dams Dialogue project. Instead, a grand durbar had been arranged, attended by about 400 people from the Bui dam affected communities. Liqa describes the turnout for the durbar as “magnificent” with the chief dressed in traditional finery, alongside customary elders, queen mothers and other community members.
At the celebration, the community leaders bestowed a new title on Liqa– Nana Afua Bui, or Development Chief of the Bui Community. In a moving ceremony, they presented gifts to Liqa for her new honorary position, including hand-woven Kente cloth, beads and a ceremonial stool. The durbar also recognized the newly nominated leaders of the community who will play a role in managing community affairs at the new community site.
The durbar also reflects the successes of the Ghana Dams Dialogue. The Bui community has been closely involved in activities of the dialogue. According to their chief Nana Kwodjo Wuo II, and community leaders, the people have benefited significantly from the Dialogue. Their involvement in the process began with an initial exchange visit by 25 community members to the dam affected communities of the Aksosombo and Kpong resettlement areas. Further activities and forums have contributed to confidence in the dialogue process and increased capacity has improved community negotiations with the Bui Power Authority (BPA). The BPA, on its part, now recognizes the emphasis placed by the GDD on achieving consensus. BPA has invited the GDD to facilitate integration activities amongst the different communities. The Ghana Dams Dialogue closes as an IWMI project in May 2011, but the members of the National Coordinating Committee were unanimous in their agreement to further continue and develop the dialogue, with secretarial support from a local development partner, the Volta Basin Development Foundation (VBDF).
As a parting gesture to the community, Liqa has set up the Afua Bui Endowment Fund for educational support for girls from the community, with seed money of 1000 Ghana Cedis. The endowment fund will be managed by the leaders of the community, including female representatives. (View a video of her presentation)
International Water Management Institute