Fishing communities in West Point and New Kru Town have engaged UNDP Liberia and partners to support several requests.
The engagement happened with community residents in the two densely populated slum communities on Monday 1, March 2021, during a visit by the Resident Representative of UNDP Liberia Mr. Stephen Rodriques.
According to a release from the UNDP, during Mr. Rodriques’ visit to New Kru Town, he had the opportunity to directly interact with beneficiaries of the Coastal Add-on project. The project was implemented by the Ministry of Mines and Energy with support from UNDP Liberia and funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The release also noted that this is part of UNDP’s support to the Government of Liberia through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enhance the resilience of vulnerable coastal areas to the risks of Climate Change.
Due to the construction of a 1.25km coastal revetment in New Kru Town, the structural erosion with threats to major public and private infrastructures, which was predicted to worsen because of climate change, has been stabilized.
The project according to the UNDP has also allowed local fishermen and women who rely on the coast for livelihood, to continue to access the area. They are grateful to the Government of Liberia, UNDP, and its Partner-Global Environment Facility (GEF) for the intervention, which has brought relief to the community and provided hope for the population.
The coastal revetment has halted the frequent destruction of properties and the migration of the local population due to sea erosion. The government school in the area, D. Twe High School, is now protected from the threats posed by the frequent coastal erosion with enrollment continuing to increase.
However, the population particularly women, are faced with many challenges including the poor quality of fish drying ovens which poses threat to their health. The women made a request for support from UNDP Liberia and partners to assist them replace the current ovens with solar dryers and energy efficient fish drying smoke ovens.
Many women who have limited access to cash to enable them to buy more fish that they can trade to raise income to support their families also made a request for small loans/grants.
The local fisher folks spoke of the poor quality of their fishing gears which are sold locally but quite expensive and unaffordable. Additional request was made for new fishing gears to be made available and accessible.
The UNDP Resident Representative recognized the resilience of the community and its population. Rodriques acknowledged their requests and noted that UNDP will work with the government and partners to identify ways in which they can continue to support the community.
In West Point where the conditions are very similar, the Community is being earmarked for the Monrovia Metropolitan Coastal Resilience Project to be funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The project is designed to protect the West Point community from the impacts of the sea level rise (SLR) and related extreme events. It will implement critical soft and hard coastal protection measures to reduce the exposure of the area to climate change induced sea-level rise and incidences of extreme precipitation events.
West Point is one of Monrovia’s most densely populated slums, which is home to approximately 75,000 people. Poor sanitation of the community and widespread littering of plastics continue to pose risk to public health and the environment.