The Youth Action for Relentless Development Organization- Sierra Leone (YARDO-SL) is a youth empowerment agency working on four (4) areas of intervention with a biased focus on Environmental Protection, with support from AFR100 and #FreetowntheTreeTown, the organization planted 100,000 trees at Tokeh and York communities in the Western Rural District of Sierra Leone. The purpose for planting 100,000 trees by YARDO-SL was to restore degraded areas of the Freetown peninsular forest park and also to protect our water catchments.
The project has provided green jobs for youths in the two communities, wherein 50 young people were employed as Growers and 25 daily workers in both communities.
As a way of proper monitoring, strategic government institutions like National Water Resources Management Agency, National Protected Areas Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, Freetown City Council, Western Area Rural District Council and the Ministry of Environment were all part of the monitoring team and their role was to inspect nursery sites, type of seedlings and the identification of planting sites in these two communities. In an engagement with community stakeholders, project team and community Growers to mark the end of the planting exercise, the Executive Director of YARDO-SL, Mr. Ahmid Chernor Jalloh commended the growers for a job well done by planting the seedlings in time and also throws light on the importance of this project to the two communities and urged the stakeholders and the community growers to take ownership of the project. He further laid emphasis on proper monitoring of the trees planted to ensure sustainability and high rate of trees survival, which is the core goal of the project.
The councilor of Ward 388, Councilor Momodu Dumbuya otherwise known as T.K whose ward covers the two communities, commended YARDO-SL for bringing such valuable project to his ward, he also assured the Executive Director of YARDO-SL that, they will own the project and ensure that the project achieved its desired goal. He continued by pointing out the benefit of restoring tree covers at the dam that provides water for the community of about 3,000 people. He also pledge on behalf of the other community members their commitment to monitor the project for its sustainability. On his part, Mr. Alpha Dumbuya, the Programs Coordinator for YARDO-SL also explained that the grant was very competitive as YARDO-SL was chosen as Top 20 Organizations in Africa for restoration projects amongst thousands of applicants. According to him, this was because we presented a better case as we wanted to work with the communities at Tokeh to restore their degraded dam, and those at York to restore the mudslide site. We are happy to have accomplished that together with the community and relevant government institutions.
It is also important to note that apart from the ecological benefits, this project comes with socio-economic benefits as green job creations and training of growers to promote community based environmental stewardship.
In her field visit at Tokeh Dam One where 30,000 trees planted, the Mayor of Freetown, Her Worship Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr spoke on her commitment to plant 1million trees and commended YARDO-SL as committed partner towards #FreetowntheTreeTown project. She also stated that, she was happy to see how well the trees planted are doing and to also get positive feedbacks from young people employed as Growers. In ending her remark, she commended the excellent collaboration between WARDC and FCC and also urged all that, we need real commitment to tackle deforestation in order to protect our water catchment, our food sources, and our animal and bird life, She ended by saying our safety are all dependent on saving and growing trees.