They used to walk at least two kilometres to another community to charge their mobile phones and engage in other socio-economic activities.
Kwaninkrom, a farming community in the Sefwi-Wiaso Municipality of the Western North Region, was not a popular place for people seeking accommodation as they preferred to rent rooms in nearby communities so they can access electricity. But all that is set to change as the community connects to the national grid.
Nexans Foundation and Chirano Gold Mines made it possible to connect to the national grid to bring life to the community and a boost commercial activities besides cocoa framing.
The community members anticipate that the move will among others bring economic transformation to the lives of many residents whose livelihoods depend on electricity and who had to relocate to nearby communities to ply their trade.
Grace Gyasi, 36 years old, operates the only supermarket at Kwaninkrom and she’s confident the connection to the national grid will advance commercial activities in the area.
“Politicians have always disappointed us with empty promises, now that Nexans and Chirano mines have brought the light, as a trader I can now sell fresh fishes and frozen beverages to open up my business,” she said.
Lack of access to electricity has been affecting socio-economic activities as most youth migrate to urban areas, at the expense of the local cocoa industry.
Residents are also hopeful that the development will improve the education of children in the community who have been using kerosene lanterns for studies in the evening.
“Our children can now learn at night, we the youth can also learn how o use the computer, we are very sure that the advent of electricity will back life into the community,” one resident said.
The project, therefore, comes as a relief to residents of Kwaninkrom as they are hopeful the face of the town will change with improved livelihoods.
The project was undertaken by Nexans Foundation, in partnership with Nexans Kabelmetal Ghana Ltd, producers of high- and low-tension power cables, with the support of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Chirano Gold Mine Limited (CGML) and Energy Foundation.
The Managing Director of Nexans Foundation, Dr Eric Wardner, said “Nexans foundation is committed to ensuring that all houses who desire to connect electricity will be assisted through the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), in the second phase of the project.”
Dr Wardner indicated that the company will consider extending its rural electrification support to other communities, henceforth.
He pledged to provide the community with a corn-mill to prevent women from journeying far for such services, once the community now has light.
Vice President and General Manager of Chirano Gold Mine Limited (CGML), Mr Andriano Sobreira, explained the project was made possible when Nexans Foundation indicated its readiness to pursue social projects in mining communities that are related to energy.
“The Energy Foundation, a member of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, was tasked to identify and develop projects to meet the criteria spelled out by Nexans. The project focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and extension of electricity to classrooms and others,” he said.
He added that it was through this that Chirano Gold Mines Limited submitted a proposal for the consideration of Kwanikrom community, which is “dear to the heart of Chirano Gold Mines.”
The Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney, said mining is essential to the growth of our economy. He said, “Responsible mining is integral to the sustenance and development of any country as it provides a great avenue for businesses in the value chain to thrive and offer opportunities for social growth and development.”
He advocates more interventions from the private sector to transform socio-economic lives of rural people.
Dr Eric Wardner (third from left) cutting tape with chiefs to commission the Kwaninkrom electrification project