To build on previous investments in the forestry and agricultural sectors, 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.
One of the key activities identified to support attainment of Objective 1 was the following:
Activity 1.2: Collaboratively support the development of outreach campaigns to increase public awareness of natural resource and environmental management issues
The Tetra Tech ARD/PROSPER scope of work notes that: The successful management of Liberia’s natural resources depends not only on government agencies and communities directly responsible for their management, but also on an educated citizenry that can make informed decisions about the use and management of these resources by government agencies, the private sector, and communities.
To contribute to the building of an informed citizenry, the scope of work (SOW) calls for Tetra Tech ARD to do the following in Year 1:
- Work with stakeholders, specifically the members of the Community Forestry Working Group which includes the FDA and a number of CSOs active in the forestry and NRM policy sectors, to build their capacity to develop effective outreach campaigns to communicate information that will lead to changes in the way citizens think about and make decision about their natural resources.
- By Month 3 of implementation, support a Community Forestry Working Group (CFWG) meeting to solicit ideas and themes for the first outreach campaign. This support will include a workshop at which CFWG representatives, government agencies (e.g., EPA and LC), CSOs, and members of private sector will present lessons learned from their own outreach campaign efforts and experiences developing non-formal education materials.
- Launch an outreach campaign beginning in Month 6 of implementation that will target PROSPER sites for four months.
The launching of the first outreach campaign to improve public awareness of natural resource and environmental management issues is listed as a Contract Deliverable (no. 28). Although Tetra Tech ARD reported regularly on the preparation and successful implementation of the first annual outreach campaign in its monthly, quarterly, and annual reports from Year 1 (FY 2013), and has submitted two other reports focused on Outreach Products Developed (Deliverable 11) and Public Outreach and Awareness Building Approaches Field Tested (Deliverable 5), USAID requires a separate report formally substantiating the launching of the first annual campaign.
The present report is submitted in fulfillment of that requirement for Deliverable 28. It provides complementary documentation not provided in the reports cited above concerning the execution of the first outreach campaign from May to July 2013 including: 1) copies of the program agendas, list of speakers, and participant lists from the three regional launching ceremonies organized in Tappita (May 24), Sanniquellie (May 29) and Buchanan (June 8); 2) Calendars and itineraries of the rollout campaigns conducted in southern and northern Nimba counties and Grand Bassa County in June and July 2013, and 3) Photos from both the launching ceremonies and rollout phase.
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN
The first annual outreach campaign on community forestry entailed high-profile launch ceremonies in southern Nimba County (Tappita), northern Nimba County (Sanniquellie) and in Grand Bassa County (Buchanan), respectively. These ceremonies brought together an array of dignitaries from agencies of the Government of Liberia, representatives of CSOs at local and national levels, community leaders, local authorities, youth groups, the media and other stakeholders associated with the forestry sector. It was designed to impact key target audiences in PROSPER sites and other stakeholders that influence how their community forests are managed.
The launching ceremonies took place in Tappita on May 24; in Sanniquellie on May 29; and in Buchanan on June 8, 2013. Activities included: a) keynote addresses; b) speeches from selected experts, county authorities, local leaders and community representatives highlighting important community forest technical management and governance issues; c) live drama and cultural performances focused on forest management by the Liberia Crusaders for Peace troupe; d) a float parade; and e) distribution of informational materials on community forestry. The activities surrounding the launching ceremonies were amplified in all three zones by local radio stations which PROSPER contracted to prepare an interactive pre-launch informational broadcast, to cover the ceremonies, and to do a 30-minute feature program on the outreach campaign, including interviews with key participants.
The launch of the campaign was followed by a roll-out of activities in the major towns and villages of PROSPER’s ten sites in June and July 2013. The rollout included music, cultural and drama performances, projection of video, competitions to test skills knowledge related to community forestry, and the distribution of printed materials including copies of Community Rights Law and Regulations, and t-shirts. Theatre troupes within the communities were also mentored through this process by the professional theatre troupe (Liberia Crusaders for Peace) contracted for the outreach campaign so that they will be able to continue spreading the campaign messages throughout the PROSPER communities.