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 sixth quarterly report presents the activities undertaken and results obtained during the first quarter of fiscal year 2014 (FY14) which covers October 1 through December 31, 2013. Individual monthly progress reports were also prepared for USAID.
The October to December period marked the beginning of PROSPER’s second year of implementation. Despite the protracted rainy season, activities continued apace. This report summarizes the accomplishments for the period measured against the Annual Work Plan.
Summary and Highlights:
Component 1 activities in this quarter focused on two major activities: documentation of the “Make Community Forestry Rights Real” campaign and documentation of deliverables. Efforts to develop and finalize the 72 environmental education lesson plans continued throughout the quarter. It is anticipated that the curriculum will be finalized and packaged in the next quarter. “Lessons Learned” workshops were held in all of the areas where the “Make Community Forest Rights Real” campaign was conducted, and involved all stakeholders who participated in the first annual outreach campaign. Tetra Tech ARD’s Communications Specialist facilitated two behavior change communication capacity-building activities for the CFWG/FDA on behalf of PROSPER: a Behavior Change Communication (BCC) Workshop for the Design of the 2nd Annual Outreach Campaign on community forestry, and a film editing workshop. Fifteen members of the Community Forest Working Group (CFWG), including individuals from government, civil society organizations and PROSPER staff, participated in the workshops. Lastly, a three-day Community Forestry Curriculum and Teacher Training Review Workshop was held at the FTI in November. The faculty were also provided with a review of participatory teaching methodologies and were oriented in the use of the FTI website and database developed with the support of PROSPER.
Despite a long rainy season, Component 2 field activities continued at all field sites. Highlights in northern Nimba included: negotiations between Arcelor Mittal (AML) and the CFMB that resulted in the recognition of community ownership rights to forest resources that will be removed as a result of AML operations. Community Assembly elections and CFMB appointments proceeded, and communities were represented at the tripartite meeting on the Nimba Mountain range. In the new areas, forest management organizing committees and Community Awareness Teams were organized and mobilized to promote community forestry in the PROSPER target communities. At the national level, PROSPER developed three policy briefs and presented these to stakeholders at a one day workshop in addition to supporting several presenters at a regional Forest Governance meeting. Work with the Community Forest Working Group continued apace with planning for outreach activities in CF applicant communities outside of the PROSPER area. Component 3 activities during the first quarter of FY14 included ongoing delivery of farmer field school sessions to 275 participants at 11 sites. Griffonia monitoring began, using plots established in the previous quarter. The PROSPER-supported cassava and oil palm processing groups (CPGs and CPOPs) in Northern Nimba had limited business due to the rainy season. Sector assessments for cocoa and oil palm as well as charcoal and bushmeat were completed, the results for which will be documented in the next quarter. Most importantly, during the quarter, significant discussions within the PROSPER team and between PROSPER and USAID were held concerning the overall strategy for this component, the relevance of current activities, and proposed reorientations for FY14, all of which is now reflected in the 2014 Annual Work Plan.
Thirteen deliverables were submitted and either approved or returned to PROSPER for revisions during the reporting period. A list of the deliverables approved during the quarter, or submitted and awaiting approval are provided in the table below (updated as of Jan 7, 2014). This information is similarly presented in the Appendices.