Forest Incomes for Environmental Sustainability (FIFES), a five-year activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development, and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, is deploying 11 forest technicians to authorized community forests in Nimba and Grand Bassa counties, a release has said.
ACDI/VOCA is a private and nonprofit organization with a mission to promote economic opportunities worldwide. Based in Washington, D.C., ACDI/VOCA has worked in 146 countries since 1963.
According to the release, these technicians will provide technical assistance in forestry capacity development to Community Forest Management Bodies (CFMBs).
Eight of these individuals are recent graduates of the Forestry Training Institute (FTI) — half of them being women —with three assigned with from the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).
This opportunity, the release said will provide first-time work experience to recently graduated FTI students. It will also strengthen FDA field linkages to front-line community forest managers and develop the skills and expertise of CFMBs and forest dependents to sustainably manage their community forests and reduce threats to biodiversity.
FIFES Monrovia staff and FDA technicians provided four days of on boarding training focused on introductions to the FIFES Activity’s objectives, implementation targets, and policies and procedures. These sessions also covered environmental conservation awareness raising, communication techniques, biodiversity protection, crisis prevention, and bio-monitoring techniques and offered support to enterprise groups and Women Owning Resources Together program activities.
The training also included forest management planning tools, data collection procedures, and the importance of monitoring and evaluation. The FDA deputy managing director for Operations, Joseph J. Tally, called on the trainees to commit to the process, and live up to their potential.
Tally also called on them to perform their duties to the best of their ability, saying: “The FDA will be tracking your results to use as a reference for future employment with us.”
FIFES Chief of Party, Glenn A. Lines, expressed satisfaction to see familiar faces among the FTI graduates, who were once part of a professional team, who recently conducted two forest inventories in Nimba County.
Lines said that his dream has finally come to fruition with the posting of recent FTI graduates to first-time professional employment in the Liberian forestry sector.
“You are now on the front line of community forestry action,” Lines said.
“As FIFES helps you prepare to deploy to community forests, remember the CFMBs will be counting on you, and you must be ready to effectively engage with them for the sustainability of those community forests,” he said.
The FIFES Activity aligns with USAID/Liberia’s Country Development Corporation Strategy with the goal to help rural farmers and forest-dependent communities develop forest-based enterprises in ways that reduce threats to biodiversity and combat deforestation, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss.
FIFES aims to increase inclusive, sustainable economic opportunities for local community forest stakeholders, while building the capacity of local institutions to effectively implement national policies, promote better forest management, and integrate gender equity and youth opportunities within the 11 community forests in Nimba and Grand Bassa counties.
The Activity supports four community forest governance and management structures in Northern Nimba County (Sanniquellie area) as well as five in Southern Nimba County (Tapitta area), and two in Grand Bassa County (Buchanan area), for a total of 11 community forests.