To build on previous 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;
- Enhance community-based livelihoods derived from sustainable forest-based and agriculture-based enterprises in target areas.
This quarterly report presents the activities undertaken and results obtained during the third quarter fiscal year 2015 (FY15Q3) which covers April 1 – June 30, 2015.
During the April – June period, the effects of Ebola were unremarkable as far as carrying out PROSPER activities in the field. In May 2015, Liberia was declared Ebola free. Several STTAs were able to travel to Liberia in order to assist with the completion of PROSPER deliverables. Considerable progress was made during the quarter through the collaborative work with FDA, PROSPER and the CFWG to begin the process for a community to gain Community Forest status with the implementation of tools developed to complete the nine-steps of the process to becoming a Community Forest.
Summary and Highlights
Component 1 activities for the quarter included: finalizing prototypes of the EE booklets and posters in easy-to-use electronic formats for submission to MoE; designing and conducting Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors (KABs) baseline on threats to Biodiversity; launching of the third annual outreach campaign with the FDA; purchasing mobile public address system unit with portable electricity generator for each of the three PROSPER areas in order to conduct outreach activities; training of the Regional Foresters from the FDA in the CRL and related CF themes; updating the Community Forestry Curriculum at FYI in fulfilment of Deliverable #8a; Supporting the implementation of the Community Forestry Curriculum and use of Digital Learning Platform at FTI.
Component 2 activities for the quarter included: supporting the communities to effectively monitor activities in their CFs; supporting the updating of the legal documents of the Blei and Zor CFMBs; supporting the Gba CFMB in the implementation of their MoU with AML; providing specific support to Community Assembly Management Activities; participating in and presenting to the Northern Nimba Biodiversity Stakeholders’ Forum; conducting a capacity assessment for business development among local institutions, including the CFMBs; consulting with CI on the potential for piloting Conservation Agreements in the Gba and Zor Communities; supporting communities to facilitate the posting of Notice and mobilizing for the Socio-economic and Reconnaissance Survey; posting Notice for demarcation in all CF pilot communities; signing of the Boundary Dispute Resolution between Doe (Gblor) and Kpablee Districts; training for FDA personnel in conducting SER Surveys for Community Forestry; supporting the FDA to update required documentation against the Checklist to acquire CFMAs; supporting STTAs in the development of Policy Briefs; supporting STTA in the Harmonization of the CRL and its regulations; collaborating with stakeholders on REDD initiatives.
Component 3 activities during the quarter included: training of CFMBs in Best Practices of NTFP harvesting; developing local NTFP Market Analysis/Trade Networks in District 4 and Barconnie; support to develop and foster wood-based enterprises in the three PROSPER sites; maintenance and operations training to the Cassava Processing Groups (CPGs) and Community Palm Oil Processors (CPOPs) in Northern Nimba; supporting Oil Palm-Based Enterprises with the continued development of Oil Palm Nurseries and processing support; improving Market Information through the development of SMS pricing availability for local products; creating bushmeat alternatives through beekeeping pilot program.
Significant progress was made with the submission and approval of contract deliverables. Much of this progress can be attributed to the return of STTAs to the program following the end Ebola crisis.