Hiplife legend Okyeame Kwame says he wants Ghanaian ladies to go into a relationship with men, not because of their handsomeness, six-pack or money but based on the number of trees they plant in a year.
With growing greenhouse gas emissions arising out of deforestation among others, the rapper believes taking the issue of climate change in Ghana seriously by adopting sustainable land usage and management, including the planting of trees would go a long way to safeguard our livelihood and existence.
“It’s about time that a girl will look at a man and say I’m going to be the girlfriend to this boy because he planted seven trees this year,” he stated Wednesday when he was unveiled as Climate Change Ambassador in Ghana.
Okyeame Kwame’s strong commitment to and support for development initiatives in the country in recent years earned him the ambassadorial role under the 5.5 million-dollar World Bank and Climate Investment Fund programme- the Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM).
The DGM programme seeks to strengthen knowledge and practices of communities in forest management through sustainable land use in the 52 selected communities in Ghana.
The 52 communities in the Brong Ahafo and Western Regions were chosen under the five-year programme based on their propensity for unsustainable forest use.
Role of Okyeame Kwame
As the Climate Change Ambassador, Okyeame Kwame will be required to drum home the issue of climate change for Ghanaians to appreciate the negative impact of the global phenomenon on nations.
He would also take specific actions to fight global warming.
“So we expect him to be very instrumental in the development of appropriate jingles, the fusion of oratory and music for the purposes of public education,” the West Africa Regional Director of Solidaridad, Isaac Gyamfi, told journalists.
Again, he is expected to have several engagements with farmers, opinion leaders and the people in the selected communities on the issue of climate change and what they can do to mitigate its negative impact.
“We believe strongly that we can tap into his image and the niche he’s carved for himself and his brand,” Mr Gyamfi said at the unveiling ceremony.
He revealed that Okyeame Kwame accepted to take up the role without any charge; something he noted, demonstrates the musician’s commitment to development issues.
“I think that confirms the decision we took [in choosing him] was appropriate,” he added.
The cost of programmes and projects to be undertaken by Okyeame Kwame as part of his ambassadorial role will be borne by Solidaridad, the implementing agency for the DGM programme.
The Director said the selection of the musician followed series of discussions, noting, “We were unanimous that Okyeame Kwame has made a name in the show-business space, that he comes with a certain clout in terms of the respect people have for him. It’s a known fact”.
Contribution to development issues
Mr Gyamfi added Okyeame Kwame “has already engaged in addressing and contributing to addressing several development issues” in Ghana.
Okyeame Kwame is involved in Hepatitis B campaign, joined the Ghana Forestry Commission on its programme to bring climate change issues to the forefront, and engaged in tree planting with the Korean Embassy in Accra.
“Simply put, he’s already a known person in the development terrain and the record of his own accomplishments and the public image that he elicits, which is very positive, can contribute enormously to the seriousness that we attach to the DGM initiative. Serious people work with serious people,” Mr Gyamfi stated.
‘Pampering honour but challenging’
Accepting the ambassadorial, Okyeame Kwame said: “I’m grateful for the honour bestowed on me as the Climate Change ambassador for Ghana”.
“Life is a cycle when one part of the cycle is broken, the other part cannot function, so I strongly believe that for us to develop as a people, everybody must use their positive attitude, instincts, abilities, talents to bring attention to what really is needed for the country to grow or for the people to grow,” he stated.
He described the honour as “pampering” but also very challenging but will do all within his power to bring about the needed change to reduce the negative impact of climate change.
Okyeame Kwame observed that considering the rate of population growth, the country’s lands and natural resources would decrease in the next 60 years if sustainable land and forest use were not practised.
“It’s about time that we all get interested in climate change because it is that one thing which is going to affect us now and also in the future. It’s about time that we take the concept of climate change [and] we make it interesting to ourselves as people,” he said.
“I promise today that I am not only going to sit here but are going to go into the communities and use the music, the personality to bring people together to have more knowledge and have more awareness.
“What we don’t want is that when we have destroyed Ghana together as a people, we won’t say that we didn’t know. We are going down there to work with them,” he assured.
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