LIBERIA: CDI Urges Forest Communities To Take Ownership Of Their Forests, Strengthens Them Through Workshop

A community based group, Community Development Initiative CDI has ended a two-day intensive workshop for residents of forest communities in Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties.

The two days training workshop was to provide the forest community members the basic knowledge through CDI to engage forest management policies such as the Community Commercial and Conservation (Triple C) developed by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).

The local nongovernmental organization wants the citizens to take ownership of local forests. More than forty community members attended the workshop. The participants came from Bomi wood, camp Israel, Latia, and Falie to strengthen their knowledge on the 2009 community land rights law as enshrined in the Act for understanding and engagements.

The workshop was held under the theme “Strengthening of (CFMB-CFDC) of existing community forest governance structure to enhance their understanding and equip them to better engage and contribute to National, Sub-National laws and policy framework.”

Speaking at the close of the workshop, the Project Supervisor of CDI, Thompson Y. Keyta cautioned citizens of Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount Counties to properly manage their local forests.

“We need to properly manage our community forests for our future generation, if we continue to cut down our forests, it will greatly affect our future generations,” Mr. Keyta asserted.

Keyta further said “Because we are looking at the carbon calculation, the Western World has come to let us know if these forests are being brought down because of this we are becoming to face some changes in climate.”

The CDI Project Supervisor however admonished those working in forested areas to learn how to maintain local forests so that they can have an alternative means to survive.

It was gathered that some of the community members never had knowledge on the forest laws and it was their first time hearing about it through the workshop. They were overwhelmed of the knowledge gained so far during the training and appealed to CDI to continue in order to get more information on the Forest Management Policies and the Land Rights policies. The project is supported by Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization (MPIDO) based in Kenya, East Africa.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Kalilu Pussah thanked the organization for the knowledge, saying some of the topics were new; while some were topics they are already aware of.

“The laws are on the book, but are these laws benefiting the citizens?” Pussah wonders.

However, he commended CDI for always providing the requisite knowledge to forest communities in managing their forests and how they can benefit from their forests.

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