It has been revealed that despite efforts by the government and other stakeholders in fighting against illegal mining popularly known in Ghana as ‘galamsey’, the menace is still going on.
A more disturbing trend is the involvement of children of school age in the illegal mining activities at Amanchia,Kobeng,Seidi communities and its environs within Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality of Ashanti region.
Mrs.Comfort Nyamekye, the Leader of Women Environmental Defenders’ Association (WEBA) disclosed this to The New Trust Newspaper during the launch of aggressive campaign against the use of children in mining.
The campaign is targeting to hit almost schools in the area in order to reach out to their target groups with the message “stop using children in mining”.
The leader announced that 65 out of every 100 children in Amanchia,Kobeng and Seidi communities in the Atwima Nwabiagya municipal are said to be involved or engaged in the galamsey activities either before ,during and after school hours.
A number of Parents and Teachers confirmed that children as low as class three(3) are engaged in galamsey for their livelihood.
A number of the children also confessed that they are compelled to engage in galamsey which has been banned by the government to protect our water bodies and forest reserves for their livelihood.
The aggressive campaign aim to help eliminate children in galamsey especially within Amanchia,Kobeng and Seidi communities.
To this end,the Association has held number of education campaign at various schools , churches apart from embarking on door to door education or awareness creation. Mrs.Comfort Nyamekye said the association stands for the wellbeing of both women and children particularly; hence they can’t fold their arms to let such children miss access to quality education.”Our major aim in this campaign is to secure the future of the children .We have realized that because of illegal mining activities many of the children have abandoned school for galamsey.Even those in school cannot concentrate on their studies because of their involvement in the illegal mining which danger to their health and potency to thwart their education.
We’re therefore using this campaign to educate the children ,community leaders and parents to join force to stop the canker”.
The leader of WEBA said the ongoing campaign is targeting children, their parents &Guardians and the community leaders to reverse the current trend so as to get all children in the area to school. They took their education first to Seidi R/C Primary school headed by Mr.Kwadwo Peprah,Kobeng,Primary school headed by Mr.Williams Tiboah Acheampong among other schools aside churches and door to door outreach.
The advocacy Association motto is“Women and children freedom advocacy”. The leader of WEBA with the support of Mrs.Mary Agyeiwaa-orgamizer and Mad.Mensah Rita-member used their interaction with the pupils in the various schools the danger associated with illegal mining especially at their age as well as the important of access to quality education.
The executives of the Association also used the opportunity encouraged parents & guardians to enroll their children to school and stop using them for child labour especially illegal mining activities”.By a news desk report
Some scenes from campaign against the use of children in illegal mining @ Amanchia,Seidi and Kobeng communities