Authorities at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), has disclosed that the entity, with support from the World Bank, is expected to receive 2 boats from the bank.
Mr. Saah A. David, REDD+ Coordinator at FDA, made the disclosure on August 11, 2020, when the Managing Director of FDA, C. Mike Doyen, handed over a musical set to a group of traditional Bassa musicians, calling themselves “Shining Star National Musical Band”.
The event, held at the headquarters of FDA in Whein Town, Mount Barclay, was predicated upon the role Mr. David said the group has played over the years, promoting the FDA’s activities in Liberia.
In brief remarks, Mr. David indicated that the Liberia Forest Sector Project, which is funded by the Government of Norway through the World Bank, will present two boats to the entity.
The kind gesture from the World Bank is intended to help improve the eco-tourism sector of the country. “The two boats are going to be used by our colleagues who are currently working along the Lake Piso, in Grand Cape Mount County; this will also serve for tourism or eco purposes,” he siad.
According to him, studies conducted have indicated that Liberia has a very good potential in terms of eco-tourism and is poised for development shortly, something he said Liberians must take advantage of as it is a great opportunity ahead.
According to him, another study was done recently which unearthed Liberia’s eco-tourism industry. “It is important for us to note that Liberia has at least 42% of the remaining upper Guinea forest.”
While referencing other countries that do not have forest but are developing their eco-tourism industries, he said Liberia, with at least 42% of the country forest being eco; “We are not taking advantage of the eco-tourism sector.
“It is never too late now; under the leadership of Director Mike Doyen, we have been able to conduct series of studies and have identified what has been termed as a “Low hanging fruit” and one of those places that FDA is going to concentrate on in the next few months is the Gola Forest National Park,” he said.
He stated that Liberians are aware that the park is referred to as a “Peace Park”, which straddles the boundary between Sierra Leone and Liberia. He noted that the Sierra Leone side of the border is under full protection and they have already begun benefiting from carbon funding.
According to him, the Liberian side of the border needs more protection due to the potential of eco-tourism because it is “Trans-boundary” and, as such, one can enter the Sierra Leone side as a tourist and end up in Liberia.
Meanwhile, the FDA authority used opportunity to call on the government through its Managing Director (C. Mike Doyen) to ensure that the First Lady Clar M. Weah, who they think has the potential of helping Liberia as a country to promote eco-tourism to be the face of this sector in Liberia.
He said once the country has that face, “I can safely tell you that our support is sure from our partners from everywhere, something he believes that would put Liberia on the course with other countries in the sub-region. “This activity is part of the Forestry Development Authority’s (FDA) plans to improve echo tourism sector of Liberia,” he added.
In a related development, FDA boss C. Mike Doyen has emphasized the importance of culture as a way of people’s life which must be respected in every given society.
Mr. Doyen said the Shining Star National Musical Band, which is a typical Bassa singing group, was preferred for empowerment with the modern musical set to help promote the eco-tourism program under the auspices of FDA because the Bassa tribe, like other tribes, believe in culture and they are found in a nearly all of the 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia.
He named Nimba, Bong, Margibi, Montserrado and Rivercess Counties were songs or music related to the program will make a significant impact in the growth and development of the eco-tourism sector of the country. Doyen disclosed that his institution launched the ‘Ecotourism Potential Studies’ two months ago with the aim of generating funds to enable the forest support itself. Doyen said as part of ecotourism, authorities at FDA do recognize the importance of culture as part of ecotourism, which led to the establishment of the working relationship between the FDA and one of the well-respected traditional musical bands in the country.
According to Mr. Doyen, when you visit the United States, for example, you have country music depicting the route of the people, and it is also noted in Liberia, “the popular country music is ‘Gbeyeema’ which can most often be played during death ceremonies to console bereaved families.”
Mr. Doryen expressed delight that authorities of FDA chose to present the musical set to the Bassa King (Blazore) and his group to spread the message of eco-tourism to Liberians through traditional music.
Meanwhile, the head of the musical band, Emmanuel Siryon, thanked the FDA management for the support. Mr. Siryon said that, with the FDA’s support, the group will ensure that the message of the FDA goes out across the country.