In a well-attended meeting on the 22nd of January 2024, the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) held a meeting with Koinadugu stakeholders at the DHMT Hall Kabala town.
The purpose of the meeting was to present the interventions of CSSL towards the protection of Lake Sonfon from mining, intending to find solutions for the termination of mining activities in the lakeand the designated protected area.
Invited participants were cut across the district including Paramount Chief representatives from Diang Chiefdom, Sengbeh Chiefdom, and Wara–Wara Yagala Chiefdom alongside their respective Chiefdom Speakers.
Also in attendance were representatives, from the District Council, District Administrative Office Koinadugu district, Office of National Security (ONS), National Mining Agency (NMA), Local Unit Commander Kabala division, the media, and several other stakeholders.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the meeting Pa Sandy Turay welcomed all present, he said the need for conserving Lake Sonfon is very important for national and international interest. As it’s one of the mountainous lakes in West Africa, so if protected from illicit mining it will lead researchers and tourists to visit the lake and carry out their research work. He called all stakeholders in the Kionadugu district to team up and support CSSL to stop all mining activities around Lake Sonfon
Chief Alhaji Mohamed Lahai Marah of Segbeh chiefdom, representing Honourable Paramount Chief Member of Parliament Koinadugu district noted, among other things, that “promoting environmental conservation, requires collaborative support from different sectors of society. As Lake Sonfon is a source of water for downstream communities around the lake and the Pampana River it is crucial to protect the lake, he continued ”As district stakeholders, it is time now, that we move to establish Bylaws that will help to terminate mining activities at the lake.“
Mr. Mohamed Jawara, Chiefdom speaker Diang Chiefdom acknowledges the work of the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone over the years. He said „as chiefdom authorities we have a role to play towards the protection of Lake Sonfon from mining as the lake is our heritage and protecting it means a lot for the present and future generations.” He concluded by advising CSSL to advocate to the central government for the demarcation of the lake as they as a local authority cannot determine the peripheral of Lake Sonfon.
The meeting climaxed with group work and came out with solutions and recommendations to protect the Lake from mining.
Recommendations for the future of Lake Sonfon:
- Strong bye-laws to protect the lake from illegal mining
- A youth task force which observe the compliance to the bye-laws
- Relocation and compensation of communities living inside the proposed protected area
- Declaration of Lake Sonfon as a National Park by the government
- No more mining licenses around the lake
- Stopping bush burning around the lake
- Reforestation and renaturation around the lake
- Ownership of communities in the protection of Lake Sonfon
CSSL together with NPAA and the communities around Lake Sonfon will continue to advocate for the protection of the lake, the clean water source for people and biodiversity hotspot. Learn more about our work at Lake Sonfon on our project page: Saving Lake Sonfon