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 first quarter fiscal year 2015 (FY15Q1) which covers October 1 – December 31, 2014.
During the October – December 2014 period, Liberia continued to feel the full effects of the Ebola crisis, with optimism and skepticism working interchangeably throughout the quarter. Fortunately, PROSPER had anticipated the continued difficulties of interacting with local counterparts and had developed its AWP accordingly. For the most part, work continued as usual as none of the PROSPER sites had any direct contact with Ebola. However, as part of the need to ensure we continued work in our communities, several Ebola training sessions were worked into our normal outreach activities and a revised Ebola Contingency Plan was submitted to USAID.
The end of the first quarter also brought with it the departure of the COP, Paul Cowles, requiring the shifting and promoting of different staff. This will be explained in more detail under Management Activities, below.
In addition to the PROSPER staff changes, the program also welcomed Alexander Kingston as the new ACOR for USAID. He replaces the vacant position that was previously held by Darlington Tuagben earlier in the year. Shawna Hirsch became the COR in December while Jennifer Talbot takes a leave of absence in the US. The rest of this report summarizes the accomplishments for the period measured against the Year 3 Annual Work Plan.
Summary and Highlights
Component 1 activities for the quarter included: Developed and shared strategy with FTI on the engagement of faculty and students in field activities alongside PROSPER staff; Supervision and technical advice to PCI Media Impact on the production and broadcast of 52 Episodes of radio-drama serials; Consultations with project implementers in support of the situational analysis of the threats being addressed; Criteria for engaging school clubs or establishing new ones developed and schools’ assessment tool developed and administered; and, seventy-two environmental education lesson plans reviewed and revised and matched with their respective Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs), in collaboration with the MoE.
Component 2 activities for the quarter included: Supported the Gba CFMB to implement the MOU signed between the Gba CFMB and AML; Provided updates to the Nimba County Superintendent on the status of the existing and proposed CFs in Nimba County; Provided training for Community Forest Guards and Gba CFMB in Northern Nimba; Collaborated closely with VPA to coordinate capacity building efforts for FDA, through the CFWG; Collaborated with VPA-SU and FDA, through the CFWG to finalize CRL Harmonization Checklist; Developed topics for 3 policy briefs in partnership with CSOs; Engaged stakeholders involved in REDD+ initiatives; and, developed Draft “Threatened Species of Liberia” calendar with FFI.
Component 3 activities during the quarter included: Completed the maintenance and operational training of the Cassava Processing Groups (CPGs), which was delayed in Q4 of FY14 because of the Ebola epidemic; Four oil palm farmers groups were identified for starting their own oil palm nurseries with improved F1 high yielding dwarf varieties of oil palm that were developed in Ivory Coast. The self-raised funds (US$300 per group) contributed towards the purchase of processing equipment (Freedom Mills). A field assessment carried out in December that created an inventory of the current touristic and entertainment establishments along the beaches of the Barconnie shore line. The findings will be presented in a report that will be published in Q2 of FY15; Commenced development of the extension module that can be used in a variety of PROSPER groups, e.g. PROSPER crop diversification groups and FED FFSs. Field testing and validation in Q2 FY15 will shape the modules into their final, site specific version; A field visit to the cane rat production site in Zortapa; Visits to goat development activities of the USAID FED program are scheduled for January 2015. PROSPER was not able to receive any information from Land-O-Lakes since their operations had been halted due to the Ebola crisis; and, there were no ACC meetings in Q1 FY15 due to the Ebola epidemic though meetings will reconvene in January 2015.
There were several deliverables approved during the quarter, however, they were accounted for in the Annual Report, which was officially submitted to USAID in November, after a thorough review by both USAID and PROSPER. As such, the deliverables chart below only gives a snapshot of the status of the deliverables that were due for the first quarter of FY 2015 per the 2015 AWP.