The Graduate Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG) has indicated that they will, from next year, embark on programmes meant to protect the country’s forest cover. The programme dubbed “GRASAG Green Campaign” according to the Association is aimed at using workshops and training to inculcate in Senior High School students the relevance of protecting trees in the country.
The General Secretary of GRASAG, Kwasi Frimpong, who revealed this at this year’s ‘GRASAG End of Year Press Soiree’ indicated that GRASAG as part of activities for the Green Campaign, will sensitise students of 10 selected Senior High Schools in the country on forest conservation and tree planting, plant about 2000 trees by August 2020 and form tree planting advocacy groups in at least 10 selected SHSs in the country by August 2020.
Ghana Losing its Forest
Mr Frimpong indicated that a recent report stated Ghana is losing its forest faster than any other country in the world. He said the estimate of forest loss in Ghana is about 60 percent followed by the Ivory Coast with 28 per cent according to the Global Forest Watch (GFW). “Moreover, 3.6 million of rain forest was lost in 2018 alone according to the reports,” he said.
He stated that the alarming rate of climate change and the impact of climate change variability will have a negative implication for Ghana if efforts are not intensified towards forest conservation. He indicated that forest cover is necessary for mitigating the impact of climate change adding that “it is even more significant than ever that deliberate attempts must be made at forest conservation in Ghana.”
The Financial Controller of GRASAG, Yussif Suleman, speaking on behalf of the GRASAG President, stated that the Government of Ghana continues to pay lip service to research funding in Ghana. He said successive budget statements presented to the parliament of Ghana neglect the important place of research in our socio-economic development process as a country. He indicated that till this day, Ghana does not have a National Research Fund to support postgraduate research. “This may be a major oversight that has escaped the managers of this great nation for so long. But we want to draw everyone’s attention to this important miss by successive governments and there is the need to correct it now,” said Mr Suleman.
He added that GRASAG understanding the times we find ourselves has established the Graduate Research Trust Fund (GRTF) to provide meaningful funding to support postgraduate research. The fund, he explained, aims at providing for the financial needs of student researchers and ensuring that students working on cost-intensive research works have access to funding.
He used the opportunity to call on organisations, individuals, government among others to support the fund to make this ambition a reality.
He also outlined other activities the Association is hoping to embark in 2020. These include SDG champion challenge, monthly developmental forum, research conferences and training, SHS mentorship programme among others.
by: Prince Baffour Asamoah