The chiefs and people of Goviefe Todzi in the Afadjato South District have installed Madam Jessica Brown, Chief Executive Officer, New England Biolab Foundation in the United States, Development Queen with the title Mama Nyuewaa I.

Madam Brown, an American, was honoured for her contribution towards preserving the forest enclave of Kpeve, Kpale and Goviefe.

She secured funding through her NGO for the project, “Conserving the Weto Sacred Grove” which is a replenishing forest reserves that had been degraded.

Madam Brown underscored the importance of forest reserves to the eco-system and survival of humanity and asked the locals to ensure the quality and health of reserves through traditional use.

Togbe Adanu Sakrafo, X, Paramount Chief of the Area, said the community was strategising to make the reserves and sacred groves tourists destinations.

Mr Pascal Benson Atiglah, Project Coordinator of Accelerated Rural Development Organization a non-governmental organization, focused on sustainable environmental management, said his outfit was reviving and protecting fast depleting forests and 30 sacred groves in the Volta Region.

He said the initiative was necessitated by massive deforestation along the Akuapim-Togo range, especially around the Goviefe communities.

Mr Atiglah said the groves would be demarcated and gazetted to make it easier for communities to publicise them.

Dr George Ortsin, National Coordinator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, said funding was secured to support some communities around the range to promote agro-biodiversity into modern agro-forestry and conserve the cultures that had helped conserve the environment.

He noted that the over 100-year old Goviefe sacred grove had been maintained due to the belief that it was the most sacred part of the forest.

Dr Ortsin said they had trained the communities to replant some important tree species like odum, mahogany, sapele and offram among others which were either lost or depleted.

He said they also rolled out an alternative livelihood project through the eco-system compensation by introducing beekeeping and providing beehives among other interventions.

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