December 10, 2022


Sierra Leone Entertainment News

GEF Small Grants Stories: New skills to scale up sustainable biodiversity conservation in Pujehun District

The Grantee

Gondama residents hunt for bushmeat, collect firewood, mine, farm and log near the Gola Rainforest National Park. These human activities destroy the environment.

To protect the environment, we trained some Gondama residents to earn a living from other ventures to achieve sustainable conservation of biodiversity. This idea is how we won a grant from the UNDP Sierra Leone GEF Small Grants Program.

We work with women farmers, local hunters, and youth. We have taught them new farming practices.

I am passionate about undertaking this project that is sustainable to the environment to protect the forest reserves for the benefit of present and future generations.

I have learned that to ensure environmental conservation, we need to encourage community participation to help achieve sustainability.

My name is Siaka Augustine Massaquoi. I am the Program Coordinator for the Gondama Community Development Foundation in Pujehun District, Sierra Leone. I am a social worker and an entrepreneur.

The Impact

Before now, we got local herbs from the tree barks, but we’ve not been able to get them because we have cut down the majority of the trees in our bushes. Dangerous forest animals have been invading our community. They destroy our things and put our lives at risk. Likewise, most water catchments in our community have dried up, food shortages and unemployment are also part of our problems.

Since the Gondama Community Development Foundation started the environmental conservation project, our community has improved. Women learned to process garri, and the machines will be provided for us soon. We learned that inland valley swamp farming is better than upland farming. With swamp farming, we will be able to farm and harvest two times a year, which will increase our income level. We now know forest conservation management, which in the end will open the doors of tourism to our community.

The project has brought unity to our community, now we can work together as one person, and we will have one key focus. Also, when we leave the forest, we will be able to preserve them and have sufficient food and water.

My name is Samuka B. Sama, I am living in Kgokpoma Community, Pujehun, and I am a teacher.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), offers grants to innovative, inclusive, and impactful projects that address global environmental and sustainable development issues.

Gondama Community Development Foundation Project
This project addresses the full range of the socio-economic and environmental issues in the Gola forest region. The organization will implement a sustainable livelihood alternative project which will enable local community groups to enhance food security through inland valley swamp and low land development and rehabilitation for vegetable productions and reforestation with a focus on a wide range of tree planting on farms and within community landscapes.

About GEF Small Grant Stories
The GEF Small Grants Stories series is made possible by a grant to VR&C Marketing Company to increase the visibility of the GEF Small Grants Programme in Sierra Leone through the production of blogs and digital media content on the successes of the program.