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Abstract

Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) became very prominent after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 as vibrant social movements. Since then, ENGOs operat-ing at the local, regional, or global levels have been instrumental in environmental man-agement in both developed and developing countries. This study sought to investigate the performance of the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), a local ENGO, in some selected mining communities in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipali-ty, in the Western Region of Ghana. Situated in the intepretivist research philosophy, the study employed in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and observations to collect data from some staff of WACAM, community residents and some government agencies. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to select 77 respondents for the study. Data collected was transcribed and manually coded into themes and categories for analyses. From the perspective of the respondents and participants, the study found that WACAM performed well in mitigating the environmental ills caused to the mining com-munities. WACAM employed the use of advocacy and capacity building as the means to empower poor and vulnerable groups of people and also to influence public decision making and implementation, to challenge the status quo of social injustices, and to defend their human rights. It is recommended that local and/or international donor agencies should sponsor the activities of such ENGOs. Moreover, there should be healthy collabo-ration between WACAM, government agencies, especially the Environmental Protection Agency, and local community residents to sustainably manage the exploitation of natural resources.

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