Awareness Raising and Advocacy
Founded in 1989, Green Scenery has ever since been advocating for the Environment by involving both political decision makers and communities in Sierra Leone. While the organization uses research and the media to influence policy-making, its awareness raising activities are strongly based on the practical involvement of people. Green Scenery’s first initiatives for the environment involved tree planting with children and an advocacy campaign for the “Ban on Explosives”.
Tree planting for a “green” Sierra Leone
Bringing theory and practice together, tree planting was one of the first activities Green Scenery organized with communities and school children who were at the same time educated on environmental protection. Thousands of trees were planted on fragile and deforested lands, especially in forest reserves. Complemented with awareness raising campaigns on deforestation and its impact on people’s lives, the initiative became popular. Today Sierra Leone is celebrating a nationwide “Tree Planting day”.
Green Scenery is an active member of the national network Enivronmental Forum for Action ENFORAC, that serves as watchdog by monitoring the destruction of the environment and by advocating for an environmental friendly “green” Sierra Leone.
Ban on Explosives
Through advocacy Green Scenery has been able to bring about changes in policy and government decisions, as one of its first successes the organization was instrumental in bringing about the ban in the use of explosives and other noxious substances to fishing in the waters of Sierra Leone.
In the years 1989 to 1990, Green Scenery took up the campaign to ban dynamite fishing in which explosives were used along the coast line of particularly Freetown to fish. The explosions racked through the shorelines encompassing the breeding places of fishes and other sea biodiversity. The explosions also posed a serious threat to structures and buildings along the coastline. By 1991, when the rebel war commenced, the spate of dynamite fishing had escalated to a minimum of 15 explosions per day within Freetown. This was also becoming a further concern to national security as explosions scare peaceful citizen.
Green Scenery made innumerable appeals in newspapers including press releases and briefings before the event of May 1991 when the military seized power. With the onset of the military government, Green Scenery further wrote to the government expressing its concerns about the ramifications of dynamite fishing with little action from that government. Tirelessly the organization continued to advocate through media releases the need to eliminate dynamite fishing highlighting not only the environmental insecurity but human insecurity as well.
In the late 1991 at the height of rebel scares in Freetown, in the late hours of the morning, a massive explosion racked the Aberdeen axis of the city, in close proximity to the military headquarters Cockeril. The explosion instilled fear in the residents of the city and brought the military out to investigate the incident. Green Scenery seized the opportunity to remind the public and the government that such incident were one of the pointers to their concerns and called on the government to promulgate a law to ban dynamite fishing and other bad fishing practices. The law came into effect soon after placing a ban on all forms of “explosive and noxious” fishing methods.