Ghana’s forest continues to decline at a rate of 2% a year despite the numerous laws in place to protect its use. Several attempts by government such as the use of the Rapid Response Unit by the Forestry Commission to monitor activities in the forest and the bilateral signing of a voluntary agreement with the European Union to control sale of illegal lumber has not yielded the expected results. Friends of the Earth Ghana, as part of the Green Livelihoods Alliance programme, is implementing the project titled “Community Forest Monitoring Using the Timby App”. Timby stands for ‘This Is My Back Yard’.
The project will train local forest fringe communities to monitor the forest and then to use the Timby app to report any illegal activities they identify. The fringe communities by their proximity to the forest are better placed to witness activities going on in the forest at all times. By building the capacities of the communities in some of the forest laws to be able to identify forest infractions, they will be able to transmit information about forest illegalities through the Timby app installed on their phones onto a central platform. This platform can be accessed by the necessary stakeholders, such as the Forestry Commission and civil society organisations, for enforcement of the law or for advocacy.
Friends of the Earth Ghana’s page on the Timby website is here, and you can read the stories and project progress as they are added to the site over time.