Our Work For the People
Participatory Implementation of the VGGT
Project Title: Promotion of the Transparent and Participatory Implementation of the VGGT in the Context of National Food Security
Supported by: Welthungerhilfe, BMZ
In Sierra Leone, the livelihoods of many, particularly the rural poor, are based on secure and equitable access to and control over natural resources. Large-scale agricultural investments in the country often cause problems for small-scale farmers. Many people in the affected districts have lost their land and were not adequately compensated for the loss of this important natural resource.
By popularizing the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security (VGGT), this project therefore aims at creating framework conditions that ensure transparent agricultural investments and the responsible administration of land. Sierra Leone needs land usage rights, which improve the legal security of farming households, their access to land and food security.
The eradication of hunger and poverty, and the sustainable use of the environment, depend in large measure on how people, communities and others gain access to land, fisheries and forests. Weak Governance of natural resources and the inadequate control over land, fisheries and forests causes tenure problems and puts the most vulnerable under risk. The livelihoods of Sierra Leone’s subsistence farmers for example depend on their land. In a response to the globally growing demand for natural resources, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and its partners developed the VGGT to secure tenure rights for everybody.
Green Scenery’s engagement for transparency and participation in the acquisition of large-scale land investments has already started in 2013. With the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the two Non-Governmental-Organizations Welthungerhilfe and IBIS, we empowered communities, State and non-State actors to deal with large-scale land leases and the social impacts of investments. Today, Green Scenery continues its advocacy and lobbying work using the experiences gained in the past in order to promote the implementation of the VGGT in Sierra Leone.
Transparency and Accountability in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure in Sierra Leone
Project Title: Increase the use of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure among CSOs and Grassroots Organizations organizations in Sierra Leone”
Supported by: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
The project sought to Contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition by organizing a National VGGT Capacity Building Workshops, aimed at reinforcing the capacities of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the VGGT. This work was developed in close collaboration with the network Action for Large-scale Land Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT), in which Green Scenery is a member. As a result, CSOs and CBOs have become better prepared to engage in and contribute to the implementation of the VGGT, fostering and supporting the responsible governance of tenure of land and fisheries in the context of food security.
- One Training of Trainers (ToTs) learning session on the VGGT and the new National Land Policy conducted at national level in Freetown. The four-days workshop targeted 25 people from selected CSOs (including 2-3 participants from Liberia).
- Four trainings/orientation programmes conducted at provincial level to strengthen CBOs capacity to implement the VGGT and to raise awareness on the provisions of the new National Land Policy. One three-day workshop was conducted in each of Sierra Leone’s four Provinces and will target 20 people for a total of 80 participants.
- Four sensitization workshops conducted at provincial level targeting selected local authorities (i.e. the traditional leaders, local government, etc.) to raise awareness on the VGGT and the provisions of the new National Land Policy.
- Five 15-minutes-radio-programmes on the VGGT were developed and broadcasted (one each for the national and provincial trainings) to sensitize people about the VGGT and the provisions of the new National Land Policy.
- Audio-visual documentation of the capacity development workshops recorded and prepared to be presented at the 3rd VGGT Multi-Stakeholder Platform Workshop (tentatively scheduled for May 2016).
- Recommendations formulated in the different Provinces documented were prepared and presented at the 3rd VGGT Multi-Stakeholder Platform Workshop.
Advocating for Pro-poor Land Governance in Sierra Leone
Project Title: Advocating for Pro-poor Land Governance in Sierra Leone
Supported by: Cordaid, ICCO and Christian Aid
The intervention lasted for two years and was to contribute to a sustainable peace, increased food security, and reduced poverty of the rural population (and particularly women) in rural Sierra Leone, Pujehun and Port-Loko districts. This was to be achieved by way of ensuring Civil Society recommendations on large scale land acquisition are reflected in policies, regulations and practices and farmers right to land and land use recognized & participation of affected communities in decision making increased.
Transparency and Participation in Acquisition of Large Scale Land Investments
Project Title: Transparency and Participation in Acquisition of Large Scale Land Investments
Supported by: BMZ through Welthungerhilfe
The intervention lasted 18 months starting in 2013. It had as specific objective: “The Party affected by large scale land investments in Pujehun know and use their opportunities to participate and contribute to a constructive debate over the allocation of land leases with policy makers.” The project targeted specifically 57 villages in the Pujehun district affected by large scale land investments. It was intended to reach the broader Pujehun district and served as signals to other affected regions of Sierra Leone such as Port Loko, Bombali, Bo and Tonkolili where similar investments are taking place. A major outcome of the intervention was that journalists, traditional leaders, parliamentarians and stakeholders in MDAs became knowledgeable on issues of land acquisitions. Journalists wrote investigative stories on the phenomenon in Sierra Leone.
The project was also set to empower vulnerable groups affected by large scale land acquisitions (LSLA) with information and skills to be able to take on their own advocacy. It meant that capacity building was key for affected communities including for those groups seeking their interests. At least two groups including MALOA undertook more one advocacy action.
A number of stakeholder engagement were accomplished at which well researched and documented information were presented for their use. The information intended to be of credible source was to influence policy by way of informing and convincing policy makers at various levels both at national and international levels. In the process of these engagements cordial relationships and linkages were established with stakeholders of MAFFS, Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, local authorities and traditional leaders. The media as a development partner was also engaged both in the regions and the capital through capacity enhancement. The intervention encouraged dialogue/interfacing between representatives of affected communities (in Port Loko, Bombali and Pujehun) and policy makers including Parliamentarians other stakeholders of the sector. For instance interaction was accomplished between representatives of affected communities in Pujehun, Port Loko, and Bombali and officials of Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, SLIEPA, Parliament, International partners of Green Scenery. In these dialogue sessions documented common positions were presented to the officials
Community Forest Assessment and Livelihood Support
“Now we see animals coming back to our forest”
Project: Community Forest Assessment and Livelihood
Supported by: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
After a long drive over dirty roads and long after the last poda poda stop (public transport) we reach the villages Gangama, Taetima and Mesima in the Nongoba Bullom Chiefdom, Bonthe district.
Some 230 kilometers away from the capital Freetown and located around a forest, the eighty households lived mainly of hunting and of the wood of their forest. A forest and biodiversity assessment of the community forest undertaken by Green Scenery showed diversity was seriously under threat.
While the organization conducted its intervention it observed that the three communities are living in abject poverty with no access to safe drinking water (a cause for serious water borne diseases), no access to school, poor sanitary condition, and lack of medical facilities. In effect the conditions under which the population exist, not only upholds poverty, but reinforces poverty.
At the beginning of the project villagers did not trust the idea of alternative livelihood and community development nor did they believe that someone could be interested to work with them. Now they witness the desired change: Animals and plants are coming back to their forest and trees are recovering. The community committee is working. The families who are currently benefiting from the cassava, rice and groundnuts plantations are donating money for initiatives undertaken by the three communities: A store, a clean place to dry their harvest, a school and a machine to grind cassava is now available and villagers are keen to see more.
Green Scenery built capacity in natural resource management, composting, community development and peacebuilding. Currently the organization is looking for funding for sanitation and water wells and is developing a marketing strategy for selling the villagers product: Organic Gari!
Positive Change – The Bert Book Project
“Supporting Girls is the key to positive change”
Project: The Bert Book Project
Duration: 2005 to date
Supported by: Private donations
The Bert Book Project is an initiative taken by Green Scenery and Mrs. Siobhan Keating, an Irish woman, with an initial support from Bertie Gowen.
The project is providing basic support for girls in secondary schools in the Western Area and Southern Province. The criteria for the stipends are based on academic performance and difficulty in paying school charges.The initiative is making it possible for young women to continue their education who otherwise would be forced to drop out of the education system thereby increasing the state of poverty of women in Sierra Leone.
Since the academic year 2005/6 to date, the project has been supporteing 52 girls and 9 have been traced at present in tertiary and vocational institutions in the three regions.
The project has impacted positively on the girls by keeping them in schools. It has also enhanced their performance due to regular attendance in school and their human dignity restored as opposed to humiliation for being driven from school for school charges. In the overall school performance, these girls are exhibiting good performance in the West Africa School Certificate.
Currently, the project is targeting twenty girls in all the project areas and they have been promoted to the next stage in the Senior School.
An educated girl is better equipped to break the cycle of child labour and poverty. With USD 60 we pay school fees, uniforms and necessary books. Donors are kept informed on the performance of the beneficiaries.