Home Gardens in Ghana
Lectures to the whole community
Credit: Aburi Botanical Garden
Wild plants are essential for primary healthcare in Ghana as 70-80% of the population cannot access hospitals or afford conventional medicines, and so rely on wild sourced medicinal plants instead. However, this resource is in jeopardy. Communities find it increasingly hard to source their medicinal plants, and practitioners must travel ever greater distances to find them.
Aburi Botanical Garden received Darwin funding to work on a project to respond to this situation, in partnership with BGCI, the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the University of Ghana. This project aimed to improve communities' access to medicinal plants, and to encourage their sustainable use. It set up a 50 acre model Medicinal Plant Garden, based on community ethno-botanical surveys, which was planted with 1,361 medicinal plant seedlings, and also set up a plant nursery to hold 5,000 medicinal plant seedlings.
This garden is used to support lectures, seminars and workshops for herbalists on how to propagate and cultivate medicinal plants, to encourage stakeholder interaction, and to encourage communities to set up their own nurseries and first aid gardens. The community is involved in their management through an advisory committee.
These activities have been accompanied by the publication of two manuals on medicinal plants: one on harvesting, preparation and storage, and the other on propagation. Aburi also provides communities with seedlings (over 2 million to date), and is involved in complementary activities, such as the enhancement of schools, church yards, towns and villages, promotion of some traditional medicinal plant management systems, and the management of protected areas.
Sources: G.Owusu-Afriyie (survey response), Amponsah et al. (2002), Gillett (2002), Damanka & Ofosuhene - Djan (2001).