Wacam is a premier community based human rights and environmental mining advocacy NGO in Ghana with a community-based focus. Formed in 1998, Wacam has worked to respond to the social, environmental and economic problems that had resulted from the increased mining investment of the third gold rush. Our work is focused on community mobilisation, organisation and rights-based education for empowerment, at the local, national, sub regional and international levels to influence practices changes.
With a modest beginning of work in eight communities in one region, Wacam is now working in over ninety mining affected communities in Ghana. Wacam has worked to share its experiences with CSOs, community groups and intellectuals worldwide. Our belief in the rule of law led to the use of court room litigation, representation and negotiations for affected communities. Wacam has made a number of submissions to regulators as our contribution for policy change and have served on a number of organisations including the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) at the national and international levels.
Wacam’s media strategy broadened the sharing of mining advocacy experience with NGOs, Faith-based organisations, Trades Unions, Academia, Journalists, community activists, Students, State Institutions within the sub region and at the international levels. From 2009 to 2013, Wacam trained over 900 community people, 150 journalists and more than ten NGOs in the three northern regions of Ghana where new mining companies are locating. From 2009 to 2013, mining stories as reported by Journalists increased by over 300% over the reports from 2004 to 2008.With Wacam’s work; mining companies are now accountable for some environmental problems. This was evident in the case of the GH₵ 7 million fine imposed on Newmont for the cyanide spill in which Wacam’s activists at the national and in Kenyasi documented evidence and submitted to the Committee of Enquiries set up by the Ministry of Environment to investigate the spillage. Wacam supported media investigations and reports which influenced public opinion on the cyanide spillage. A female activist from Teberebie and others from Obuasi gathered evidence on faulty tailings storage facilities that led to Environmental Protection Agency closing down the facilities of AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem mine and the Sulphur Treatment Plant of AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine.
Wacam has also supported other affected community people in litigating and dialogue processes which has resulted in these marginalised people receiving fair and adequate compensation after they had suffered various human rights abuses at the hands of multinational and local mining companies All these collaborations and campaigns with stakeholders in the mining sector is geared towards protecting the rights of the poor and marginalised in mining communities and also improving upon natural resource governance in the country