“We are all worried about the consequences of mining at the lake”, explains a young mother to our colleagues in Segbeia, one of the villages at Lake Sonfon. “But we don´t have other means of income. We need money to feed our children and to send them to school. For most of our men, mining is their only income generating activity.”

The communities around Lake Sonfon are already facing the negative consequences of mining as the water quality is degrading and the environment is polluted. We as Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) are working with the communities for several years now. Our experience shows that, some of the effective ways to stop mining are awareness raising and providing alternative livelihood options for the families.

Training on small scale farming

CSSL started the year 2024 with several community engagements around Lake Sonfon and Pampana River. In January, the CSSL team in Kabala visited the Community Management Associations (CMAs) together with Abubakarr S. Marah from the Crop Division of the Ministry of Agriculture in Koinadugu district, Kabala town. During the trip, seeds for different vegetables like carrots, corn, cucumber, and tomatoes were distributed to the community members along with gardening tools. Mr. Marah trained the CMAs on the best use of the tools and the needs of the different vegetables for them (the vegetables) to thrive. A successful harvest starts with the right preparation of the soil, the right way to plant the seeds and the right care for the seedlings. With the new knowledge gained, it is expected that the community members will be able to increase their income in the next harvesting season.

Scaling up Beekeeping and Organic Honey Production

One of the great success stories of CSSL´s engagements on alternative livelihoods around Lake Sonfon is the beekeeping groups. Honey from Lake Sonfon is one of the best in the country as the flowers and plants around the lake are very special.

Owing to the high esteem that this component is held among the Diang people, communities passionately requested CSSL for more support and capacity building with regards to beekeeping and organic honey production. Our honey expert, Fasalie Conteh, is therefore currently supervising the construction of new beehives and also training new beekeepers. We are already looking forward to the next fresh organic honey from Lake Sonfon!

Environmental Education and awareness raising

Apart from mining, another threat to biodiversity and wildlife in Diang and Sambaia chiefdoms is the behaviours and customs of people living in the area. The Wildlife Act of Sierra Leone actually forbids the hunting, keeping and eating of several wild animal species like monkeys, chimpanzees, crocodiles, parrots, turtles and others. Not everyone is aware of these laws. Not everybody is aware of the health risks coming along with eating wild animals. The diseases of the last years like Ebola and Covid showed that being close to wild animals and eating them can become a severe risk for human health.

To raise awareness and educate communities about existing national laws and health issues related to wildlife and so-called bush meat, the CSSL team in Kabala organised community meetings and distributed posters and stickers with clear messages and information for everyone. Our main aim is to protect wildlife and human well-being.

Learn more about our work at Lake Sonfon: Save Lake Sonfon

CSSL Newsletter 1-2024

Earlier this month the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and entourage, together with the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL), visited our beloved Gola

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