FONAR launches School kids and community bushfire preparedness campaign

By Gilbert Azeem Tiroog

Balungu (U/E), Dec 02, GNA – The Forum for Natural Regeneration (FONAR), an environmentally friendly non-governmental organization, has launched school kids and community bushfire awareness and preparedness campaign at Tongo-Balungu primary school in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.

The 2023/2024 campaign of the organization is to help raise awareness, increase the knowledge of school kids and community members on the impact of bushfire and build effective adult-youth partnership for bushfire prevention and control in their communities.

It formed part of FONAR`s school Kids Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) eco clubs project in partnership with the Ghana National Fire Service which began last year in 15 primary schools across the district with sponsorship from Awaken Trees Foundation, Austria.

The launching of the campaign was held on the theme: “Be bushfire ready: Bushfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility.”

Speaking at the launch of the project, Mr Sumaila Saaka, the Executive Director of FONAR, noted that children and women, who are among the most vulnerable in society, were both victims and often perpetrators of bushfires, while in the lead when it comes to fighting bushfires.

This, he observed, necessitated the launching of the campaign to raise awareness of the risk of bushfires, improve community preparedness, create an understanding of the behaviour of fire and change the risky behaviour in the community.

“We also want to create awareness that it is the community members` collective and individual responsibility to protect their property and families from the effects of uncontrolled bushfires,” he added.

Mr Saaka, emphasised that the risk that bushfires posed to people and the environment, especially in the dry savannah regions of northern Ghana, was increasing in recent years due to many factors including climate change.

“Therefore, for us in FONAR, bushfire prevention and control education are important for children as well as adults.”

He called on the government to adequately resource the Ghana National Fire Service as the lead agency in the management of bushfires in the country.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer One (ACFO 1) Anthony Gyasi Boateng, Upper East Regional Fire Commander, in a speech read on his behalf said the Service was committed to partnering with FONAR to regenerate and protect the natural environment.

He indicated that the “Service in collaboration with FONAR over the years has achieved a milestone together including the training of school children, teachers and community members on the impact of bushfires and ways to control them and pledged to do more to protect the environment.”

Naba Joseph Atiah, the Chief of Tongo-Balungu, while expressing his gratitude to FONAR for the initiative, reechoed the adverse impact of bushfires and called on his people to guard the environment against bushfires to protect their lives and livelihoods.