On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, a local NGO in the forest sector, Partners in Development (PADEV), conducted a one-day orientation for its community engagement officers (CEOs), who the entity would send in the field for a 15-month Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Project which PADEV is implementing.
PADEV Lead Team Leader Nobeh S. Jackson, who spoke at the CEOs’ orientation, said the project will be conducted in 40 communities in Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Sinoe, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape and Grand Kru counties.
It is under the title, “Awareness Raising and Support for the Establishment of Community Forest Governance Entities for the Liberia Forest Sector Project.”
At Wednesday’s event, CEOs learned new methods they would use to educate community dwellers in those counties on the value of the forest as a resource as well as the products and services it provides to community members (non-timber forest products, fuel wood, fresh water, protein from hunting, building materials, etc.).
“You CEOs will also inform them about how economically productive and environmentally sustainable livelihood activities can be obtained from the forest,” Jackson said.
He further admonished them to serve as ambassadors of PADEV in the intervention zones.
“Collaborate and coordinate with FDA and the Liberia Forest Landscape program (LFSP) cadre assigned in the target communities in support of the implementation of project activities as well as provide support to resolve forest resource-related challenges and comprehensively document their mitigation approach.
the one which the CEOs will have to conduct during their regular field visits in designated communities; organize and conduct village-to-village information campaigns; participate in regular monthly coordination meetings, to review planned activities, determine the effectiveness of the implementation of project activities.
As part of the activities, you will identify challenges, revise activity plan where required and suggest recommendations through written reports; with the support of field-based coordinator, organize regular town-hall meetings with community stakeholders and representatives of forest governance entities, to discuss issues related to their forest resources,” Mr. Jackson told the CEOs.
Earlier, Attorney Gertrude W. K. Nyaley, Technical Manager, Community Forestry Department at FDA, said the LFSP is a project which is a support to the government from the Norwegian government.
“They decided to support us to build our capacity and practice sustainable forest management,” Atty. Nyaley added.
She further said that because the government through the FDA cannot do it on its own, it was partnering with PADEV, which is a civil society actor in the forest sector.
According to Atty. Nyaley, PADEV will create awareness on governance among community forest dwellers.
“Governance has become a very major issue in our country today. If we as technicians in the forestry sector don’t work together to make sure that we have a hold on governance, there would be a complete breakdown in community forestry,” she said.
Atty. Nyaley warned of several persons who are intervening and participating in community forestry and who, according to her, should not be a part of the exercise to protect the forest.
Attorney Roland J. Lepol, Deputy National Coordinator, REDD+ Implementation Unity, FDA, said that the LFSP is funded by the Norwegian government through the World Bank and that its project is being implemented by the FDA, together with six other “project implementing agencies.”
The agencies are all government-run entities, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Authority and Environmental Protection Agency.
Lepol said that the entity was working with PADEV to support communities in order to get them to manage their own forests, especially in the areas of governance system and increasing awareness, so that they are more knowledgeable about how the forest is managed.
He praised PADEV for doing a “very good job,” citing some of its initial reports as good.
PADEV was founded in August 2016, to contribute to national development by maintaining a cadre of staffs who worked for USAID ( United States Agency for International Development)-supported projects that administered community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) activities.
PADEV’s founders have extensive experience in CBNRM and development works, deeply rooted in their long-term services with national and international organizations.