As part of the World Food Day events in Kiharaka village, a local cultural group performs a drama about land grabbing. Land grabs are an issue close to the hearts of the hundreds of people watching, many of whom have seen people losing land or have themselves lost land. Photo/courtesy of Marc Wegerif, Oxfam

Ghana's church leaders to continue raising awareness of land-grabbing

By 
  • August 26, 2016

ACCRA, Ghana – Ghana's church leaders have committed to continue raising public awareness about land-grabbing, in hopes of protecting and restoring the livelihoods of rural people, protecting the environment and saving communities from unnecessary strife.

Samuel Zan Akologo, executive secretary of Caritas Ghana, said a new report, based on six months of research, would begin a conversation that "would help deepen our understanding on the issues involved to enable the bishops take actions based on informed position."

The report, "Unmasking Land Grabbing in Ghana: Restoring Livelihoods, Paving the Way for Sustainable Development Goals," was released Aug. 23. It was prepared by Caritas Ghana in collaboration with the country's Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development and the Washington-based Africa Faith and Justice Network, with financial support from local and international partners, including Ghana's bishops. It is a follow-up to a Pan-African church meeting on land-grabbing last November.

"We have the outreach potential to reach every nook and cranny of this country to ensure that no one is left behind," Akologo said. "This is the aspiration for the implementation of the new (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals, which the church is very much committed to promoting."

Critics say land-grabbing – large-scale land acquisition that displaces the original owners – is increasing in Africa, impoverishing local people. It has been identified as a major cause of forced evictions, displacements and migration of people.

The report refers often to Pope Francis' encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home." It also suggests the encyclical be used "as a framework for collective and collaborative response of church, state, society and corporate bodies to build consensus in addressing the problem."

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