Editorial: USAID Provides Alternatives To Harvesting The Wetlands


“THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT and people are always prepared to be part of the economic development and the human resource capacity building of Liberians,” Karlin Hanna, Deputy Director at the Division of Economic Growth at USAID-Liberia, noted when he formally launched a wetlands project in Charlesville, Margibi County. Karlin called on residents of Charlesville to support the project, saying the LCCDA is also an opportunity to help protect the chimpanzees and, at the same time, develop their community.

THE US AGENCY for International Development (USAID) has provided over US$200,000 grant funds to support livelihood and enterprise development activities for people living in communities at the fringes of the Marshall Wetlands.  The Marshall Wetlands is a Proposed Protected Area (PPA) with an enormous potential for ecotourism, but faces immense threats from local communities who harvest the mangroves for fuel wood and charcoal production.

THE USAID FUND will economically empower local youth, women, marginalized people, and local farmers to grow fruits, vegetables and at the same time produce honey and coconut oil to supply the local markets, hotels, resorts and the Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection (LCRP) Sanctuary in the area.

THE GRANT, WHICH spans a five-year period, was awarded to the LCRP, but will be collaboratively implemented by Partners in Development (PADEV). PADEV will coordinate implementation activities with other local partners, including Liberia Pure Honey, the Forestry Training Institute (FTI) and Liberia Pure Coconut.

GUIDED BY A social enterprise approach, structured community governance entities will be trained to manage community business funds and will coordinate with the local leadership to determine community development priorities to which portion of profits from the community enterprise will address.

TO ENSURE SUSTAINABILITY and to improve the productive capacity of the local people in the area, PADEV, in coordination with other partners, will train beneficiaries of the project in small scale business development and orient women’s leaders and local entrepreneurs on how to facilitate microfinance initiatives through Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA).

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