To build on previous United States Government investments in the forestry and agricultural sectors, particularly the Land Rights and Community Forestry Program (2007–2011) and the Liberia Forestry Support Program (2011–2012), USAID contracted Tetra Tech ARD in May 2012 to implement a new, five-year program (2012–2017) entitled People, Rules, and Organizations Supporting the Protection of Ecosystem Resources (PROSPER). The overall goal of the program is to introduce, operationalize, and refine appropriate models for community management of forest resources for local self-governance and enterprise development in targeted areas of the country. The three primary objectives of the program are:
- Expand educational and institutional capacity to improve environmental awareness, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental compliance;
- Improve community-based forest management leading to more sustainable practices and reduced threats to biodiversity in target areas; and
- Enhance community-based livelihoods derived from sustainable forest-based and agriculture-based enterprises in target areas.
September 30, 2016, marked the conclusion of the fourth full year of PROSPER program implementation. It was a year of great success regarding advancing the eight PROSPER pilot community forests, and many unique challenges were overcome.
In FY16Q1, PROSPER began its fourth year of program implementation, and arguably the most productive year of the program regarding developing community forest governing structures. Relations with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) noticeably improved, with steady progress throughout the year developing and finalizing the 9-Step process to forming an Authorized Forest Community. Also during Q1, following a request from USAID, Tetra Tech ARD submitted a proposal to the mission that called for expanded outreach and awareness campaigns in three additional counties, where interest in the Community Forestry program is high. The expanded scope of work was also intended to facilitate capacity building of the Community Forestry Department staff at the Forestry Development Authority, through the appointment of a dedicated FDA Advisor, and the building of a core Community Forest (CF) technical team among FDA regional staff. The modification was approved in Q2, and the FDA Advisor arrived at the end of February 2016. In addition to the FDA Advisor, a Communications and Outreach Advisor was hired to oversee the expanded outreach and awareness.
PROSPER’s extended outreach and awareness activities targeted communities in Sinoe, Gbarpolu, and Grand Gedeh, and included training of radio broadcasters in the respective counties and airing radio programs and dramas. PROSPER’s Extended Outreach Coordinator made several follow-up trips to the counties to monitor progress of outreach and awareness activities. She continues to work with the radio stations to ensure the programs are correctly monitored and that the people in the communities are receiving the intended messages from the activities. While radio-stations were originally providing reports on air-times and call-ins, based on information learned from field visits, PROSPER will be deploying two site-coordinators to each of the three counties to provide for more comprehensive monitoring and to ensure programs are being aired as planned.
Throughout the year, PROSPER and the FDA worked closely together to continue demarcation exercises in all of the PROSPER sites. While it was anticipated that demarcation notices and Socioeconomic Reconnaissance (SER) survey results would be posted in April 2016, actual postings did not commence until the end of June 2016, to ensure all necessary government agencies and officials in the respective counties were properly informed before the process commenced. By the end of September 2016 all communities had progressed to the penultimate step of the process (Step 8 of 9), wherein they must form their CF governance institutions.
Of the 21 deliverables scheduled to be submitted during FY16, PROSPER submitted 14 (12 have been approved and two are pending approval by USAID). The remaining seven deliverables are either being completed by STTA or they were combined with other deliverable assessments scheduled in the last seven months of project implementation. Deliverables 13b, 13c & 13d are all revisions to the biomonitoring handbook that PROSPER has developed with stakeholders. Because of the deliverable, it is not feasible to complete three revisions in seven months, so 13b, c, & d will be combined into one final deliverable. A complete listing of deliverables due during FY16 can be seen in the attached Annex 5 – Deliverables.
This Annual Report is provided as a complement to the quarterly reports and includes the FY16Q4 data. It summarizes PROSPER’s major achievements in FY16 by component and activity; and presents several of the important lessons learned during the first four years of the PROSPER project, and the principal strategic adjustments made on the basis of past experience.
FY 2016 HIGHLIGHTS
Component 1: Education, Outreach, and Awareness
- Formally delivered Primary Environmental Education (EE) Curriculum materials to MoE for rollout
- Conducted curriculum implementation orientation for MoE and primary educators
- Provided training for community mobilizers, which enabled them to effectively engage teachers in EE clubs, using lesson plans developed with the MoE
- Facilitated the development and implementation of EE club programs and conducted a rapid assessment of club programs across the sites in Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties
- Organized and conducted a daylong Education Review Workshop with the CDWG to review lessons learned, best practices, and to assess the EE curriculum development process
- Analyzed the results of the Knowledge, Attitude and Behavior (KAB) end-line surveys for FY15 annual outreach campaigns
- Conducted end-line KAB Survey for FY16 annual outreach campaign
- Trained local theater groups in the effective delivery of community forestry messages using dramas, skits, traditional songs, and dance
- Developed outreach materials to promote community members’ understanding of the CRL and CRL Regulations
- Launched the 4th Annual Community Forestry Outreach Campaign
- Initiated community outreach on formation of CF governance institutions
- Observation and assessment of implementing the Forestry Training Institute (FTI) curriculum, specifically focusing on the delivery of the CF curriculum. FY16 FTI roster included105 students (77 male, 28 females) and 26 staff
- FTI students participated in Site-based Research Activities and conducted applied research on timber and non-timber forest products in PROSPER zones
- HOO and PROSPER field staff delivered lecture on the CF curriculum at FTI
- Handbook on the nine steps, including checklists, produced and being used by the FDA’s Community Forestry Department to guide the due diligence processes in issuing new Community Forestry Management Agreements
Component 2: Forest Management and Biodiversity
- Supported the review, revision and implementation of CF Management Plans (CFMPs) of the Blei, Gba and Zor Community Forests
- Supported the development and promotion of CF rules and permitting system
- Supported the Gba, Zor, and Blei CFMBs to plan and conduct the general annual assembly meetings
- Supported the Gba CFMB to re-clean the Gba CF boundary to prepare for zoning the CF
- Supported the Participation of CFMBs at the Northern Nimba Biodiversity Stakeholders’ Forum in Monrovia held on Dec 8, 2015, April 5, 2016 and July 5, 2016, respectively.
- Provided training to CFMBs in financial policy and business management
- Supported the biomonitoring program
- Conducted capacity building coordination and cooperation with stakeholders and other donors
- Developed templates for CFMP, CFMA, bylaws, and constitutions in collaboration with stakeholders
- Supported FDA to develop boundary demarcation verification process
- Provided support to the FDA to compile demarcation data and develop appropriate maps
- Provided support to the FDA to design and post-demarcation and SER survey results
- Supported the FDA to interpret/explain the proposed CF demarcation maps and validate/update the SER survey results
- Development of Forest Inventory and Planning methodology
- Presented three policy briefs developed in partnership with CSOs, in fulfilment of Deliverable 26c
- Supported the FDA through the CRL Regulations harmonization process
- Supported the Zor Forest Community address violations of the community’s constitution and bylaws
- Supported Capacity Building for Biomonitoring
- Presented biomonitoring handbook to stakeholders
- Supported communities to establish transects in the Gba CF for biomonitoring
- Contributed to the development of a national strategy for biomonitoring and biodiversity Law Enforcement
Component 3: Livelihood and Enterprise Development
- Developed, assessed, and launched CF outreach materials
- Three agriculture training materials published
- Kwakerdoe subcontract modified
- Four Oil palm nurseries established in FY15 out-planted
- Four new Oil palm nurseries established in FY16
- Farmer-to-Farmer exchange visits conducted for new oil palm nursery groups
- Community Forestry outreach materials developed and rolled out through PROSPER Component 3 groups
- Scaled up cocoa rehabilitation activities and increased the number of participants
- Wienco Liberia Limited and Cocoa farmers signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize cocoa demonstration
- Five cocoa rehabilitation field days organized
- PROSPER constructed four cocoa solar dryers and eight cocoa fermentation boxes
- Nine new crop diversification groups identified and trained in farming as a business, crop diversification, and leadership
- Six high performing crop diversification groups identified and supported for dry season vegetable production
- All six crop diversification groups formalized as enterprises and received business training
- More than $1,357.50 USD generated from six crop diversification demonstration groups
- PROSPER organized farmer-to-farmer exchange visits for farmers in Buchanan and Sanniquellie to Tappita
- Provided technical assistance to 33 crop diversification groups
- Universal Outreach Foundation (UOF) subcontract modified and organized five new beekeeping groups
- Beekeepers and ACDI/VOCA staff attended advance beekeeping training. 5 males from existing beekeeping groups participated.
- Extension support provided to FY15 and FY16 beekeeping groups
- 55 hives colonized for both FY15 and FY16 groups
- Six gallons of honey harvested from three hives
- PROSPER attended eight of the nine meetings of the Agricultural Coordinating Committee (ACC), organized by the Ministry of Agriculture. PROSPER presented an overview of its livelihood activities to the ACC in September, and distributed three agriculture publications. The agriculture publication distributed included crop diversification training manual, oil palm nursery management, and guide to oil palm out-planting and maintenance.
- PROSPER participated in all meetings of the Cocoa ACC Sub-Committee and in all Oil Palm ACC Sub-Committee meetings.