The Dormaa East Migrants Association(DEMA) have appealed to individuals and organisations to assist the Association to build and develop a poultry farm project on a two-acre land it acquired at Akontanim in the Dormaa East District of the Bono Region.
The development of the poultry project is critical, crucial and fundamental as it would provide the basis on which major activities of the Association including; raising and creating awareness on irregular migration, undertaking clean-up campaigns, promoting quality education and health in the area would be funded.
Mr Forson Peprah, the Executive Secretary, Dormaa East Migrants Association(DEMA)said this at the second Anniversary celebration of the Association held in Wamfie in the Dormaa East District of the Bono Region.
The ceremony was attended by chiefs, opinion leaders, youth groups, civil society organisations, officials of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Ghana, representative of ENI and a cross section of the public.
Recounting a brief history leading to the formation of the Association, Mr Peprah, himself a returnee migrant, said it started some two years ago at Akontanim.
He continued as its membership expanded to cover other communities like Wamfie, Wamanafo, Kyeremasu, Dormaa Akwamu and Asuotiano all in the Dormaa East District.
“We saw the need to draft a Constitution with a vision of empowering the youth and giving them hope, tackling unemployment, irregular migration and eradicating poverty and unemployment, promoting, advocating, generating and stirring up youth interest in modernised agriculture, combating bushfires as well as advocating good sanitation health practices,” he added.
The Executive Secretary thanked the ENI group for agreeing to collaborate in writing to the Association and signing an MoU to admit a total of 150 members for the next three years in their agribusiness training institution, Okuafo-Pa Agri-Business Training Centre at Kyeremasu starting with 50 people for the first batch.
Focusing on the achievements and successes of the Association, he said it had completed a place of convenience, undertaken clean-up exercises at Kyeremasu, Dormaa Ahenkro, Wamfie and Akontanim and supplied books to Akontanim Methodist JHS.
“We plan to also venture into vegetable farming in the near future,” he added.
Mr Samuel Donkor, the Executive Chairman of the Association, indicated that the Association started as Libya Boys Association at Akontanim with the aim of creating awareness on irregular migration and sharing experiences on perilous journeys undertaken in Libya to warn potential migrants.
The Chairman who is also a returnee revealed that “10 people from the area had lost their lives in Libya travelling by illegal means”.
Mr Paul Twum Barimah, the Parliamentary aspirant for the NPP, Dormaa East Constituency, who represented the ENI Group, asked the youth to take their destiny into their own hands by charting a different course for their personal lives.
He said it was an illusion and deception for them to think that they could only prosper in foreign countries, when there were many and diverse economic opportunities awaiting them to tap into for the development of their individual lives, communities and the entire nation.
The Parliamentary aspirant promised to assist a 40-year old blind, ailing returnee migrant, who was also a member of the Association that shared a harrowing account on his travel to Libya and was touched by his story.
Mr Florian Braendli, the Project Manager, International Organisation for Migration, Ghana, described the phenomenon of irregular migration as bad but noted returnees deserved “respect from their resident communities”.
He said though it was commendable for members to venture into agriculture, they needed to do it with a mind to “respect nature”.
Nana Ama Yeboah, Akyempimhemaa of Akontanim, lauded members of the Association for changing their mind on using illegal travelling and deciding to share their experiences and stories with others in campaigns to warn potential migrants.
He advised them to expand their membership and activities to include; other communities, while ensuring they remained united in their pursuits to move their Association forward.