Three community radio journalists in rural Liberia have honorably received the 2020 Multi-stakeholders Forest Governance and Accountability Project award for being best outstanding forest reporters of the year.
The three journalist who comes from rural Liberia include Henry Gboluma Jr, station manager of the voice of Gbarpolu, in Gbarpolu county (1st winner), T. Prince Mulbah of Radio Life in zorzor, Lofa county (2nd winner), and Korto D.B Snow of Radio Kintoma in Lofa county (3rd).
The Liberia Multi-stakeholders Forest Governance and Accountability project started with the training of over 80 journalists as forest reporters in the fifteen sub political division of Liberia with an open challenge to trained reporters to flag issues hampering the forest sector as part of proper natural resource management.
According Mr. Francis Sandy Brewer, a program specialist at the Liberia Media Center, the project entertained through vetting over 50 forest stories reported by journalists trained in the fifteen counties a bidding that surfaced three reports amongst several others as best base on careful analytical screening of content reported during the period under review.
The Awards which is meant to motivate and to strengthen the capacity of trained forest reporters to enable them report impactful issues affecting the Liberian forest sector include one Hero motorbike(1st winner prize), One Lenovo laptop(2nd winner prize), and a Tecno Camon 15 mobile phone (3rd winner prize).
The occasion which was held on Tuesday February 23, 2021 assemble heads of media groups and partners including the Liberia Media Center, Press Union of Liberia, the Female Journalist Association of Liberia, MFGAP and the British government through the Ambassador at the Corina hotel in Monrovia.
Addressing the honorees at the Corina hotel in Monrovia, was the British Ambassador accredited to Liberia Ambassador Neil Bradley who stressed that the united Kingdom is interested in supporting the work of the Multi-stakeholders forest Governance and Accountability project, with an applaud to the Liberia Media Center and Palladium who make it possible.
According to Ambassador Bradley presently forest attracts only three percent (3%) of money that is available for global climate funding which doesn’t make any sense.
He pointed out that people living in forest areas believes that cutting down the forest gives more money to forest host than reserving it for a healthy environment as the forest aid in hosting carbon released in the air by human activities which prevent climate change.
He said at the end of 2019 the British prime minister announced a doubling in their international climate finance to nearly fourteen billion US dollars ($14Billion USD) and over four billion of the said amount will be used to protect and restore nature and Biodiversity.
He added ‘’ So we need protection and restoration of nature to be accorded priority globally, we need international collaboration and structural change so that there is instant to protect the forest, we’ve seen some successes in recent years with the legal timber, much of that is consequence of many years of cooperation between countries coming together to tackle illegal trade, promote responsible and sustainable alternative and to protect the forest’’.
‘’the UK we been proud to work with our Liberian partners to support legal timber verification in enabling sustainable trade to generate critical tax revenues for national development; building on that work we want to bring consumer and producer countries together at Cup 26 in November this year in the UK at the international conference to address the market drivers of deforestation’’ Ambassador Bradley added.
Making remarks at the ceremony, Press Union of Liberia President Charles Coffey said, empowerment is very important to good journalism for fulfilling the vision and mission of the media profession especially with rural reporters who lacks full capacity in lifting critical stories that are affecting rural dwellers.
Mr. Coffey lauded the UK government through the Ambassador accredited to Liberia for the support with a call for more to come to enable the media discover and report issues hindering the mismanagement of the country’s resources especially the forest sector.
Also speaking was Madam Siatta Scott Johnson President of the Female Journalist Association of Liberia (FEJAL) who expressed gladness over the representation of female amongst the three winners of the Forest Award.
Madam Johnson rendered praises to the UK government including implementing partners of the Multi-stakeholders Forest Governance and Accountability project for the inclusion of female based on evidence that women are the most affected in the forest situated regions where there are problems about management and accountability.
The Awarding of Journalist Henry Gboluma, T. Prince Mulbah and Korto D.B Snow is the first under the Multi-stakeholders Forest Governance and Accountability project that is funded by the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office Through Palladium group, as part of the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement which seeking good governance, legal timber trade and accountability and proper management of Natural resources especially the forest sector.