The Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary (WCHS) is a unique, community-based initiative, owned and managed by the traditional chiefs and people of the Wechiau Traditional Area. The sanctuary was established to preserve a 40 km stretch of the Black Volta River in the Upper West Region of Ghana, on the border with Birkina Faso. The project is bringing benefits to the project communities through the sustainable use of natural resources, including the development of community-based eco-tourism.
The Sanctuary is goverened by a Management Plan, created for the 5 year period 2003-2007. The plan has the following goals: to ensure the sustainable development and management of the WCHS, to improve the livelihoods of the Sanctuary communities, and to secure the continued high biodiversity, productive agriculture, natural beauty, and cultural significance of the area.
The plan outlines 4 management objectives to ensure the goals are achieved:
- 1. Encourage improved agricultural practices targeted at improving food security and minimizing the negative impacts of farming practices on the environment.
- 2. Conserve the sanctuary habitat to enhance wildlife and plant populations.
- 3. Develop necessary institutional structured and infrastructure for successful management and financial self-sufficiency.
- 4. Develop alternative economic livelihoods for community members through tourism.
Upon arrival at WCHS, many of the Sanctuary's personnel will be very happy to share details of progress towards these goals.
The Sanctuary Management Board Leaders.
Centre: Wechiau-Naa, Chief of Wechiau. Right Centre: Naa Danyagriu Walaman-I Seubah II, Sanctuary Chairman. Left Centre: Naa Bandanaa Chielinaa, Sanctuary Treasurer
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Downloadable pdf colour brochure on WCHS from the NCRC