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When There Is No Way Out

Road

The conditions of the roads in Ellembelle district is a huge problem, but when the community members try to speak up to Ghana Gas, they only receive false promises and quick unsustainable stich-ups

The sky is grey above us and the soil we are standing on is wet. It is supposed to be a road, but because of the little rain that came yesterday, nobody can drive here and hardly anyone can walk. If you insists, you will have to walk with bare feet, or your shoes is going to be covered in mud, until it is no longer possible to take another step because of the weight of the shoes.
We are standing on the only road from Asemdasuazo to the rest of world. Today the road is once again muddy and filled with big holes of water. As we with difficulties walk up the road, news of a red car that is stuck in it, reaches us.

John Cudjoe, a lifelong inhabitant of Asemdasuazo is very upset about the condition of the road:

»Yesterday another car was stuck and the owner had to pay people from another town to come and help him to get it free again. These extra expenses is not being refunded by Ghana Gas, as and the extra trotro ticket prices which is 40 pesewas extra, neither,« he says.

Bad repairing

A little while ago, Ghana Gas, after UCSOND had announced a press conference in order to highlight and talk about the issues of the road problems, started repairing the road by laying soil, which they dug up from the roadside, on top of the holes. With that method, the holes will quickly come back again and be even bigger and deeper than before, because of erosion and bad repairs.
Because of a fuel shortage, Ghana Gas had to stop their repair. When Ghana Gas again had fuel, they used it for themselves, and to repair another road. The people of Asemdasuazo are still to deal with the struggles that the road is causing them, including the double amount of time used to commute.

Irresponsible social responsibility

Ghana Gas has a vision to implement a strategy of “Corporate Social Responsibility” into their way of business, to help the communities in both socio-economic and environmental welfare in the areas that they are working in. On their webpage you can among other things read that Ghana Gas want to:

»Include full replacement costs of destroyed structures, Invest in people and building local capacity in the industry, and contribute to livelihood enhancement and economic empowerment for local people.«

Johnson Cudjoe have not experienced any of these strategies:
»The community members have had several meetings with Ghana Gas about the bad conditions of the road and other issues that concerns us. We have suggested that they besides from repairing the road, help the youth in our community with educating them for jobs within the company of Ghana Gas. When they are before us they hear us, but nothing happens,« he says.

What the company is doing is not in line with their statements of CSR and it seems as if they only are willing to act upon their wrongdoings, if they are being held responsible by an organization and not by individual people from the affected communities.

The future

When Ghana Gas moved into the area, everybody was pleased because they thought, this would be a new beginning for a better future for the community – instead it has only brought trouble on the roads, small compensation for lost lands and even one death because people can’t get to the hospital etc.

»The landowners that gave up their land to Ghana Gas, have received a compensation of 200 Ghana Cedis each. What can you do for yourself and your family with that little amount in the years to come,« says John Cudjoe while he shakes his head in despair.

What the future will bring for the inhabitants of communities like Asemdasuazo is uncertain, but if companies like Ghana Gas started to work together on creating an environment where CRS has a higher priority and is being crossed with the needs of the communities with help from organizations like UCSOND, the future once again will look bright.

Right now, the question is how many lives and how many lost hours will the problem of the road cost the inhabitants of Asemdasuazo.

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