24 community based independent forest monitors from forest communities across Liberia are expected to benefit from a three day training in Real Time Monitoring (RTM) ForestLink Technology. Participants will come from eight forest counties, including Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa and Gbarpolu Counties. The training will be held in Gbarnga City, Bong County beginning Tuesday, October 6 to Thursday, October 8, 2020.
The training is organized by the European Union Non-State Actors project: “Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors (NSA) to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa” implemented by the Volunteers To Support International Efforts In Developing Africa (VOSIEDA) and Tropenbos International based in The Netherlands, with funding support from the European Union. The training will be delivered by a network of Independent Forest Monitoring Coordination Mechanism (IFMCM) with the Civil Society Independent Forest Monitor (CS-IFM) as a lead partner. The network comprised of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Media Institutions and Forest Communities. It is intended to strengthen existing relationships among forest actors, promote common understanding, networking and ensure effective independent monitoring of forestry activities. It will also positively affect the distribution of forest resources through collaborative education and awareness programmes.
Following the training, participants will be assigned smart phones with full package of ForestLink application/technology for data collection, transmission and analysis, which will form the basis for advocacy.
The Technology was first introduced in Liberia on March 30, 2020 following a week long Training of Trainers (TOT) for civil society and community leaders by Rain Forest Foundation United Kingdom (RFUK). The community training will be conducted by members of the IFMCM who participated in the TOT. The training will focus on the monitaur-users, collectaur-users, collecting alerts and management, presentation of data and user agreements, ethical standards and branding guidelines and form management and creation. Others include, end-to-end alert life cycle, documenting the deployment and use of ForestLink in its various aspects, data collection and transmission via the internet and SMS and internet, extracting images from the phone and uploading to Monitaur,, etc.
Data collected technology will be transmitted by Community Based Independent Forest Monitor (CBIFMs) through the RTM ForestLink app. The NUCFDC and NUCFMB will be responsible to conduct pre-verification of the alerts transmitted by CBIFMs, while CSOs, relevant government entities (FDA, EPA, Labour, LLA, etc.) and community unions will be responsible to conduct joint verification mission to support development of reports and policy briefs.
The RTM ForestLink application is embedded with provisions of the legality matrix and VPA principles, with specific focus on social obligations, environmental obligations, labour obligations, forest operation and forest governance at both community and national levels in active logging concessions areas, covering both community forest management agreements and forest management contracts.