November 17, 2018 an island clean up exercise was organized by the Ada Tourism Association, many government, private sector and non governmental organizations were present including zoomlion (Ghana’s largest waste management company), the district assembly, community youth groups, the cheiftancy of Azizakpe island, Global projects international, and the Volta Revival Foundation.
The clean up has was planned over the course of many months with the goal of using the clean up as a catalyst for positive environmental developments on the estuary island including establishing a formal dumping grounds, and creating a community association which may respond more effectively to the islands environmental needs.
Introduction to Azizakpe:
Azizakpe is the Ada estuary island which is closest to the ‘mouth’ of the estuary, where the Volta river, and the Gulf of Guinea meet. The island is very beautiful with plenty of birds, trees, and children playing! The island is inhabited by mostly Ada-Dangbe peoples, as well as Ewe’s (the original inhabitants), and a few foreign people who bought land and built houses. Most of the houses are made of natural materials, such as straw, coconut ferns and the like because it allows the sea breeze to enter the house, and the houses are movable with the changing sands, since the island is very close to the sea. There are some small-scale coconut oil operations on the island since there are many coconut trees. Additionally, many of the men on the island are fishermen, using nets and boats, and fishing in both the river and the sea. Additionally, some on the island do mat weaving, and livestock rearing as well as farming.Three communities reside on the island, and many people have worked with the community to help establish the school which is now sadly in dis repair due to lack of teachers, and poor funding.
The school in Azizakpe is comprised of six rooms, a teacher bungalow, and a play area, along with bathrooms. Currently the school is in dire need of support since teachers payment has been inconsistent and at times halted. The school needs more teachers, and more consistent and livable pay. One option which has been suggested, is finding those who live in Azizakpe who are interested in becoming teachers and have at least a high school diploma, then training them through teacher shadowing. This way teachers wouldn’t be expected to come from the main town to work at the island school everyday, allowing for the continuance of early childhood education of the island.
The problem of land erosion due to the sea it on going, and
the planting of mangroves is being looked as a valid way of creating more viable farming land on the island thereby allowing for economic growth. The Volta Revival Foundation is very interested in this possibility also as a way of securing the island against sand erosion, and coastal pollution.
Another pressing need which many chiefs and community members spoke about is their desire for a bridge over the large stream which swells at high tide going through the island, making it impossible for the residents to get to the other side without going through a river. This is a great challenge to children trying to get to school as well as women crossing to the market.
If any of these project spark your interest then consider volunteering (click here for more information) with the Volta Revival Foundation to make them a reality, because individually we are weak, but together we can make a difference!