A communication facility has been established at the Sokobhan wood market, the largest in West Africa, for information sharing on the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) (signed between Ghana and the EU on November 20, 2009) and also for capacity building of wood workers at the market on pertinent issues relating to safety at work, need for protective clothing, personal and environmental hygiene at the work place and disease prevention and control among several others.
The activities of the communication facility will be overseen by a newly inaugurated executive committee of the Wood Workers Association for the Sokobhan Wood Village in Kumasi. Both the executive committee, made up of representatives of carpenters and other wood workers, lumber traders, the Ghana Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and food vendors operating in the market, and the communication facility were inaugurated at Kumasi on June 29, 2016.
The Communication Facility, valued at 45,000 Ghana Cedis was donated by Tropenbos International (TBI) Ghana to the wood village under the auspices of the European Union (EU) funded “Supporting Intermediaries with Information and Guidance to Comply with the Timber Legality Assurance System and Engage in Advocacy on the Domestic Market Reforms” Project, otherwise known as the Timber Legality Compliance and Advocacy Project (TILCAP) and commissioned in April 2016.
TILCAP, which ended in May this year, was implemented by TBI Ghana in response to the low level of knowledge amongst Small and Medium Forest Enterprises (SMFE’s) on the VPA and new and emerging policies in the forestry sector.
The donation of the communication facility therefore forms part of the efforts to sustain the work of TILCAP, which focussed on providing trade associations of SMFEs with information and guidance on Ghana’s Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS) and also established conduits in the form of Peer Guidance Teams (PGT) to serve as channels for sustained education of members of the various trade associations for them to comply with the dictates of Ghana’s TLAS under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).
The Communication Facility will be managed by the Information Centre Sub-Committee of the newly inaugurated Executive Committee who would provide monthly reports on its activities to TBI Ghana.
The inauguration of the executive committee also coincided with the commissioning of the Bosh Power Box at the wood market by the Germany based Bosch Company. The Bosch Power Box is intended to provide training for artisans, craftsmen and small contractors on the usage of Bosch wood working tools and also provide maintenance services and repairs of the tools in a bid to assist them to produce high quality and durable wood products so as to avoid wood wastage.