The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) with support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is implementing a project titled ‘’Conserving the Yawri Bay Ecosystem in Sierra Leone’s Coastal Corridor”.

 

International Collaboration to preserve the Yawri Bay Ecosystem

The activities of the project are directly supervised by the CEPF Regional Implementation Team (CEPF-RIT).

It is traditional that prior to the completion of any CEPF funded project, the CEPF-RIT does engage in a supervision mission in countries that implement CEPF funded projects to ensure that they verify completion of project deliverables, and short-term impact by grantees, as described in the grantee’s proposal.

 

Who is the CEPF Regional Implementation Team?

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The CEPF-RIT is a coalition of selected Non-governmental organizations that provides strategic leadership for the program in each biodiversity hotspot approved for CEPF investment. They work directly with CEPF grantees, helping to build local capacity and implement CEPF’s strategy in a biodiversity hotspot.
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To fulfil its mandates, the CEPF- SMT has on the 19th to 23rd of March 2022 paid a courtesy visit to the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone to review the project deliverables, the short-term impact and to interact with key players involved in the implementation of the project especially project beneficiaries in the communities. The team constituted a three-women delegation namely Ms Peggy Poncelet, Grant Director at the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Ms. Mariana Carvalho, Team Leader of the CEPF Regional Implementation Team at Birdlife International and Ms Emmanuelle Mahe, Upper-Guinea Subregional Project Officer at Birdlife International.

On their visit, the team in total held three meetings which included meeting with the project staff to review project deliverables and impacts, a cross-section of the Yawri Bay Ramsar Site Working Group (YaRSWoG) members to understand their roles and responsibilities and why they choose to be part of the project, community stakeholders to understand why they decided to be part of the project and what benefit they have gained so far in the course of the project implementation and to identify possible challenges the project is faced with.  

Visiting of sites and meetings with stakeholders

The meeting with the project staff took place on the 20th of March 2022 between 09: 30 am to 12: 30 pm. Present in the meeting were Mr. Edward Sesay- Program Manager, Abdulai Dauda, Project Manager and Sheku Kamara, PhD-Executive Director. In the meeting, the Project Manager delivered a presentation focusing on the major accomplishments, challenges and what the project intends to do prior to the project’s ending. In her feedback to the team, Ms. Peggy Poncelet, the Grant Director mentioned that and I quote ‘’I am particularly pleased with the team and energy put so far in accomplishing gains made so far’’.  She further elucidated on the folding up of the CEPF programs in June and that every CEPF funded project is expected to wrap up in June. The Program Manager, Mr. Edward Sesay thanked the team for their and also for accolades accorded to CSSL and the project team.

In the meeting with the YaRSWoG and the consultant for the development of the Management Plan and engaging the private sector for the development of conservation agreement and signing of MoU. Mr. Edward Bubar Sesay, the External Affairs Manager of the Chung Ghang Fishing Company explained that it was not a mistake to be part of the YaRSWoG and part of the CEPF project as the project has helped in raising awareness of the importance of conserving Yawri Bay.

Mr. Peter Nelson, the Management Plan Development Consultant (MPDC) in his presentation, presented the background of his work and a draft outline of the management plan.

"Our relationship with the artisanal fishers has been very productive as we have been helping them in providing financial support for the purchase of recognized and acceptable fishing nets which support the already established community by-laws."

Interaction and exchange for the future of the Yawri Bay and it`s communities

The meeting was very much interactive as participants expressed gratitude to the team and requested the team to always consider CSSL in any subsequent opportunity that might arise in the mere future.

‘’I am very much delighted to see a formidable team like the YaRSWoG which is comprised of relevant stakeholders assisting CSSL to achieve its desired objectives as set out in the project document."

On the 22nd of March 2022, the team together with the project staff interacted with beneficiaries of the project at the community level. After the arrival in Tombo, the team visited the location where the conflict resolution signpost is installed and then had a brief meeting with community stakeholders. During the meeting, the participants expressed enthusiasm to meet with the team and further articulated benefits they have gained so far from the project since its inception. One of the community representatives Mr Woodie B. Koroma when asked about what he has gained from the project.

‘’I have gained a lot from the project and that the project has contributed to letting me know the importance of conserving the Yawri Bay ecosystem and benefits I will get rid of practising illegal activities. One of the benefits include improving fish catch, help boost the tourism sector which will help improve my revenue generation."

Before they started their journey back to Freetown, the team visited Tissanah community where they got engaged in a one-hour bird watching along the beach of which several bird species were sighted. Few among them include Bar-tail Godwith, Pink-backed Pelicans, Western-ref Egret. 

The visit ended with de-briefing in which the supervision team appreciated CSSL for the good work and asked that they should keep and step up with the good work.

Three women and two children are on a beach and observing the surounding.

The team recommended that a link should be created between CSSL and the Muloma Women’s Development Association (MUWODA) which is implementing a CEPF small grant focusing on ‘’Promoting sustainable livelihoods as incentives for conservation of Yawri Bay”. This project serves as a direct complement to the project implemented by CSSL. The project works directly with the local communities within the Bumpeh Chiefdom (ie. Mongbeschain, Monkorogbo, Bumpeh, and Walia) in Yawri Bay. The communities in which CSSL is also working.

Lastly, the team recommended that CSSL should keep a close look at the fundraising component of the project and always consider alternative livelihood as one of the major aspects in any of the projects they will be developing.

 

Author: Abdulai Dauda, CEPF Programme Manager

Click the following link to find more information about our CEPF project: Protecting the Yawri Bay 

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