The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) organised a two-day trans-boundary workshop at the Paloma Multi-purpose Hall in Kenema to review existing Environmental Education (EE) Guides for School Nature Club Teachers. The activity which was held on 7th and 8th December, 2020 was supported by the EU funded PAPFor Trans-boundary project, and had in attendance participants from the three implementing partners including the Society for the Conservation of Nature in Liberia (SCNL), Gola Rainforest Company Limited by Guarantee (GRCLG) and CSSL. The key objective was to facilitate increased contemporary environmental literacy among trans-boundary populations in the Gola landscape through review and harmonization of existing EE guides.

The activity was preceded by statements from various speakers including the Head of Gola, Francis Massaquoi, the PAPFor Project Coordinators in Liberia and Sierra Leone, James Mulbah and Emurana Sowa respectively, among others. Mr. Massaquoi expressed delight over the initiative of bringing together all three partners to discuss such critical documents which support the lifeline of Gola Forest. He thanked SCNL officials for making it to the workshop, adding that, working together in the conservation industry with SCNL has been “very enjoyable” over the years as both parties are passionate about protecting the Gola forest, a heritage he said, both organizations shared on either side of the boundary.

The PAPFor Project Coordinator at SCNL, James Mulbah, expressed thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Liberian team for the warm hospitality accorded them since they arrived in Sierra Leone. He assured all present that the workshop would be fruitful and that, the intended harmonized EE guide for School Nature Clubs would certainly stand the test of time. Mr. Mulbah asserted that, for people to come together to figure out solutions to a common problem affecting them was a step in the right direction.

Emurana Kemoh Sowa, the PAPFor Project Coordinator at CSSL said, PAPFor project is a trans-boundary initiative with the potential to providing opportunities to partners from both countries to interact and foster relationships relative to trans-boundary forest conservation and environmental protection. Mr. Sowa called on all present to utilize the two days’ period in the most possible way to ensure the production of a document that will serve its intended purpose.

Partners (SCNL and GRCLG/CSSL) were made to present their respective EE guides by Fomba M. Kanneh, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator – GRCLG and Victor M. Fabbah, PAPFor Project’s EE Coordinator – CSSL, who moderated the workshop. This was followed by plenary discussions focusing mainly on differences in contents, and how both documents could be merged to produce a single guide. The key session to harmonize both guides was undertaken in group work. Participants were divided into two groups, and tasked to look at the contents. After several deliberations, presentations were made on the final day with distinct differences figured out, and key suggestions proffered to enhance effective performance.

The activity was climaxed by a field trip to Lalehun, where the Gola Rainforest National Park has one of its eco-lodges and resource centres and Tiwai Wildlife Sanctuary at Tiwai Island. This was meant to introduce participants to some of Sierra Leone’s finest forest conservation sites.