PROSPER Assessment Report: Products Developed to Support Community-Based Forest Product and Agricultural Enterprises in Liberia

The People, Rules, and Organizations Supporting the Protection of Ecosystem Resources (PROSPER) program is designed to introduce, operationalize, and refine appropriate models for community management of forest resources for local self-governance and enterprise development in Grand Bassa and Nimba counties. The three primary objectives of the program are:

  1. expand educational and institutional capacity to improve environmental awareness, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental compliance;
  2. improve community-based forest management, leading to more sustainable practices and reduced threats to biodiversity in target areas; and
  3. enhance community-based livelihoods derived from sustainable forest-based and agriculture-based enterprises in target areas.

The PROSPER Scope of Work identified the need to revitalize the Community Forestry Working Group (CFWG) with support from USAID. PROSPER has worked to build bridges between civil society organizations and government, two groups that had often been at odds during the Community Rights Law (CRL) drafting process. The development and implementation of an annual Outreach Campaign was envisioned as a shared activity that would allow these two groups to identify priorities, jointly develop key themes and messages, and cooperatively deliver and implement a campaign to further a shared vision for “[e]xpanded … capacity to improve environmental awareness, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental compliance” as well as “[e]nhance community-based forest management” and “community-based livelihoods derived from sustainable forest-based … enterprises.”

The first outreach campaign focused on creating awareness of the CRL. The second outreach campaign focused on the process of establishing recognized community forests under Liberian Law. Through feedback and input from 10 communities in Grand Bassa and Nimba Counties, the third outreach campaign primarily focused on conserving biodiversity and reducing threats to it. Target audiences for the third annual outreach campaign were public officials, policy makers, stakeholders in the forestry sector, and forest user groups (FUGs)

This report reviews and makes recommendations on PROSPER’s third annual outreach campaign focused on pilot communities in and around Buchanan, District 4, Tappita, and Sanniquellie. The report discusses and makes recommendations on 1) the focus of the third campaign, 2) outreach products, and 3) the effectiveness of outreach activities. We conclude with discussion and recommendations for the focus of the fourth campaign.

This report is based on the results of the Lessons Learned Workshops held December 14, 15, and 23, 2015, in Tappita, Sanniquellie, and Buchanan, in which 199 participants discussed observations and issues from the campaign. It considers results from the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors (KAB) baseline and endline surveys for forest communities conducted June 1–13, 2015, and September 15–25, 2015, respectively. It is also based on independent interviews (held February, 1–5, 2016) with Community Forestry Working Group (CFWG) members and Community Forestry Organizing Committees (CFOCs)’ co-chairs for Gbear-Gblor.