YARDO-SL COMPLETED THE PLANTING OF 10,000 TREES AND THE REGISTRATION AND VERIFICATION OF 50 BENEFICIARIES
Western Area Peninsula Forest houses the Guma Water Catchment which provides pipe-borne water to the residents of Freetown. However, despite its importance, the Forest is diminishing rapidly as Global Forest Watch reports about 500,000 trees lost every year since 2009 due to deforestation from logging, slash-and-burn farming, etc. Other threats to managing the forest include:
- gaps in national policy
- Insufficient funds for management. The National Protected Area Authority manages the forest.
With support from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) through GIZ, the Youth Action for Relentless Development Organization- Sierra Leone (YARDO-SL) is implementing a restoration project titled: IKI supports YARDO-SL to Youth and Women’s actions for the sustainable protection of the Guma Water Catchment. This project aimed at capacity building as an alternative means to livelihood support and also to plant 10,000 trees in three communities around the Western Area Peninsula as a way of restoring some lost Vegetation at the Guma Water Catchment. The Project is targeting group (20 people in total):
- National Protected Area Authority (Officials from the Biodiversity Management department, Park Manager) who have been a part of the planning of the project and will be directly involved in the implementation and monitoring
- National Water Resource Management Agency (officials from the GIS department) will be directly involved in the demarcation process
- Freetown City Council (Officials from the environmental department) will be directly involved in the demarcation process
- Community Stakeholders (head men, women leaders, religious leaders, CSO leaders, etc.) will be directly involved in the demarcation process and help raise awareness of forest conservation benefits
Project direct beneficiaries (120 people in total)
- 50 vulnerable women (those involved in harmful environmental activities) supported in alternative livelihood
- 50 Youths trained as Youth Environment Corps and paid as growers -20 Forest Guards trained
- Communities Trained and Supported on Alternative Livelihood
- Degraded Land in Encroached Areas is Restored through the Collaboration of All Stakeholders Involved
- Environmental Education is Promoted by Strengthening the Capacity of Stakeholders
The project will be implemented in Mile 13, Tokeh, and York communities in the Western Area Peninsula.
Partners: The Freetown City Council, the National Protected Area Authority, and the National Water Resources Management Agency.
During the launching of the project at the Big Water Community in the Western Area Rural District, Ahmid C Jalloh, the Executive Director of YARDO-SL explained to the audience, the background of the project and its planned activities. As he mentioned, the project is sponsored by the German Government through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) program. It is a 1-year project that aims to improve environmental education, promote livelihood, and increase restoration. He further explained that the project will have three key activities:
- Planting 10,000 trees,
- Training and Supporting 50 women on alternative livelihood, and training community youths and forest guards on environmental conservation.
He made it clear that each activity has a series of sub-activities. For example, to plant 10,000 trees; there will be
- Community-led identification of planting sites
- Planting phase etc.
On the livelihood training, a sub-activity includes the registration of beneficiaries, training phase, etc. He ended by appealing to all present to take the project seriously. He mentioned that YARDO wants success stories out of the project. Both representatives from NPAA and NWRMA reassured the government’s support for the project. Mr. Yellenkeh explained the importance of community forest management for eco-service benefits and disaster reduction.
Mr. Kamara on his side, explained the work of NWRMA in water conservation and its importance to the community. Councilor Ibrahim thanked the YARDO Team, stating how he understand the time and energy it takes to make a project materialize. He further stated that he has been following YARDO’s work for some time now and that he feels lucky to be a part of this project implementation. He expressed WARD-C’s support for the project and called on the Big Water community to take advantage of the opportunity. The women’s leader made a statement to praise YARDO for bringing such an initiative to their community. She insisted that the proposed training on tailoring, gara tie dying, soap making and vegetable production would change the lives of the women for good
Pa Benya, Development Secretary thanked YARDO but appealed that the project should not be like other ghost projects they had in the past, where people promised but never fulfilled.
One of the components of the IKI-sponsored project was the planting of 10,000 trees to restore degraded areas of the Guma water catchment. Based on expert advice, the selection of tree species was done based on the soil typology, predominance of tree species for restoration purposes and fast growing as a result, Gmelina and acacia tree species were selected.
Before the planting was to commence, the Growers were supplied with farming tools (pick axe, shovels head pans, cutlass, etc.) The planting was done in two main sites covering a total area of 12.9ha. Because planting is done to restore degraded forest areas, a spacing measurement of 3 by 3 meters was used.
Break down analysis of the planting exercise:
- Gmelina 5,000
- Acacia 5,000
Number of trees planted per site [Total=10,000seedlings]
- Site one = 7234 (Gmelina 4000, Acacia 3234)
- Site two = 2766 (Gmelina 1000, Acacia 1766)
Area under restoration per site [total=12.9ha]
- Site one = 8.54 hectares
- Site two = 4.36 hectares
Number of Growers/planters involved [Total =28people]
Per planting area
- Site one= 18 (men 12, women 6)
- Site two= 10 (men 8, women 2)
- Male 20
- Female 8
Number of days to complete planting: 29 non-consecutive days
- 10,000 trees were planted to restore 12.9 hectares
- Growers are trained in agronomic practices and tree tracking using mobile phones.
The planting exercise was completed in September 2023. Another key component of the project is the training of 50 women within the community and other surrounding communities on alternative livelihood. YARDO-SL also completed the registration and verification of the 50 beneficiaries who will receive training on tailoring, gara tie dying, soap making, and vegetable production.