The IDF project largely executed by the women of Yaoman and Mr Benedict Kyei, Agricultural Specialist for the programme, had restored lands degraded by the rampant sand winning in the municipality and making them arable for production of various crops.
The award, which had been picked up earlier in Nairobi, was presented to the community at a local ceremony organised by the UNDP in partnership with the Small Grants Programme (SGP) and the Ga West Municipal Assembly.
The prestigious Equator award is awarded biennially by the Equator Initiative, a UNDP-led partnership dedicated to recognising community efforts to reduce poverty through conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
According to Equator Initiative and the UNDP, the project has since 2009, planted three million trees and restored 350 hectares of land.
The Agricultural Specialist of the project said the degraded land was high in clay content and the project had to employ the use of nitrogen-fixing plants and the practice of “zero tillage” – clearing the land without burning or tilling to improve organic matter and preserve moisture.
Mr George Ortsin, National Coordinator of the SGP, said the project also made contributions to poverty alleviation by empowering the women in small scale businesses such as livestock and rodent rearing, composting and organic vegetable production.
Mr Dominic Sam, the UNDP Country Director said: “We have demonstrated to the world that women can transform degraded land into productive farms.”
He also expressed gratitude to the IDF, SGP and the traditional leaders and community members of Yaoman, Okushiebiade and Akramaman in the district for their contribution to the success of the project.
“By your works, we are reminded that desertification can be effectively tacked, that solutions are possible and that key tools to achieving these lie in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels”, Mr Sam said.