Fostering Environmental Sustainability through innovative Partnership

Environmental Governance and Mainstreaming Project

This project was to foster environmental sustainability through innovative partnership in Sierra Leone where the economy is heavily dependent on its natural resources. The country is growing more and more vulnerable to a range of environmental risks including deforestation, land degradation and pollution. These risks are associated with livelihood activities exhibited by farmers, the private sector and the growing population of Sierra Leone. Hence, more environmental awareness raising is a “must” in ‘Salone’.


Introduction

In order to increase the environmental understanding of citizen groups, particularly the rural poor, the private sector, the youth and women, the project aimed at educating and sensitizing Sierra Leoneans on the consequences of their actions. Under the Slogan “Promoting Sustainable Environmental Governance Through Innovative Partnerships”, the EGMP advocated for environment friendly policies and sustainable corporate practices.

The increasing demand for agricultural land for food and non-food crops and the related widespread poor farming practices lead to the shortening of fallow periods. This together with urban development and the increasing need for timber and fuel wood are factors contributing to land degradation, deforestation, loss of bio-diversity and other ecologic malfunctions like climate change impacts. A growing number of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as well as harmful fishing practices have in recent years posed a threat to the fisheries sector and the food security of Sierra Leone, where fish comprises a large part of animal protein consumed nationwide. According to the World Bank, poor sanitation and hygiene together with other environmental factors like a lack of effective waste management, do not only lead to malnutrition but also increase the burden of diseases on people.

Sierra Leone’s limited environmental sustainability is one factor besides the low performance of its economic system that puts the country on place 181 of 188 on UNDP’s 2015 Human Development Index. It is important to promote environmental sustainability as one of the development indicators.


Activities and Achievements:

The urge to achieve economic development also hinges on environmental sustainability and as such, activities and achievements of the project include:

  • Workshops to raise awareness on influencing environmental sustainability and corporate cultural practices and to develop strategies and guidelines applicable to the unique environment of every business amongst the private sector. A communique was developed by the private sector actors indicating their commitment to ensure environmental sustainability in the country.
  • A business champion award served as a follow-up to the private sector engagement
  • Two documentaries were successfully produced; one highlighting harmful practices of fisheries and the other harmful agricultural practices.
  • Articles and policy briefs on best practices of agriculture and fisheries (small and large scale) were developed to influence policy makers to establish regulations or laws associated with these sectors.
  • Media engagements (TV – radio discussions, use of other social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, SMS messaging) were also functions of the awareness raising components of environmental sustainability
  • Research on sea intrusion on Bonthe Island was performed whilst developing a baseline for climate change related issues affecting the island.
  • Other activities done by partners to ensure continual education on environmental sustainability in the country include: the development of School Nature Clubs, erection of billboards and designing of posters, development of, radio-dramas and jingles indicating messages of environmental sustainable practices.

However, in the implementation of this project, it was realized by all partners that the duration for implementing such a project was inadequate regarding a country with low level of literacy and high exposure-potential to environmental threats such as flooding, land slide, bushfire, diseases associated with poor waste management etc.

Finally, it is worth noting that the EGMP is an imperative one given the Sierra Leone Government access to the achievement of the MDG 7 goal (environmental sustainability) by 2015 and a whole lot of the sustainable development goals.

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Project Duration: 2014 to 2016
Donor Partner:  European Union
Implementing partners:  Green Scenery, Search for Common Ground, Christian Aid and Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Government of Sierra Leone
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