The National Disaster Management Agency with funding support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), Institute of Marine Biology & Oceanography (USL-IMBO) and the National Tourist Board (NTB) is implementing a five-year GEF funded project titled: “Adapting to climate change-induced coastal risks management in Sierra Leone”.
The project is aimed at strengthening the ability of coastal communities to systematically manage climate change risks and its impacts on the physical infrastructure and economic livelihoods through the use of Community-based Early Warning Systems (CBEWS) which is based on a “people-centred” approach through the empowerment of individuals and communities that are threatened by hazards to act sufficiently and effectively to reduce the possibility of injury, loss of life, damage to property, environment, and loss of livelihood.
The four (4) coastal communities in which the project is being implemented are Konakridee – Kaffu Bullum Chiefdom, Port Loko District; Shenge – Kagboro Chiefdom, Moyamba District; Turtle Island – Dema Chiefdom, Bonthe District and Tombo, Western Area Rural District in Sierra Leone.
While welcoming the participants and guests on behalf of local leaders, the Chiefdom Speaker of Kayamba Chiefdom, Moyamba District, Chief Abu Bendu Mboyawa mentioned that Shenge Island is degrading due to natural and human activities. “All that we are seeing now in Shenge Island are Early Warning signs of disaster. Only our attitude and activities can avert disasters, especially those we can control.” He commented.
During his presentations both at Konakridee – Kaffu Bullum Chiefdom in Port Loko District and Shenge – Kagboro Chiefdom in Moyamba, NDMA’s Director of Risk Reduction & Preparedness, Thomas A. Lebbie stated that the training will provide communities, practitioners and organizations involved in disaster risk management with advance information and techniques that can be readily translated into prevention, preparedness and response actions. “This training will give you the skills and knowledge about hazards, threats and vulnerabilities in communicating messages on disaster prevention, mitigation and response.” He disclosed.
Whilst thanking NDMA and Partners for organizing the training and inviting selected councillors whose wards are currently experiencing severe consequences of man-made disaster, the Councilor of Ward 235 in Main Port Loko, Abu Bakarr B. Kanu noted that; “When we were young, we use to get shrimp and fish for our households from the Bankasoka river. It was an attractive breeding ground for fish and shellfish. We hope with this capacity-building engagement, we can now pass on the message to our people to start practising adaptation mechanisms and move away from illegal fishing practices.” He added.
The training will continue in the remaining two targeted coastal communities in a bid to close the knowledge gap in managing hazards within their communities.