Improving Kpatawee Waterfall for more tourist attractions
Kpatawee Waterfall is one of Liberia’s finest tourist attractions situated in Central Liberia, Bong County. As a way of continuous improvement of the tourism site for the betterment of community dwellers, and the county, the Society for the Conservation of Nature Liberia (SCNL), with support from the @Environmental Protection Agency-EPA Liberia, and funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), @UNDP Liberia, has conducted training for several tour and ecoguards, who will serve as tour guides for tourists/visitors visiting Kpatawee Waterfall.
Kpatawee Waterfall has become a place of attraction since Bong County authorities and a private institution (Jalk Enterprises) sealed a deal in 2020 to transform the area into an eco-tourism site to help preserve the area and benefit the local citizens. The 835-ha site (Ramsar Site# 1629) contains two separate waterfalls roughly 2km apart. While the waterfalls are a great visual wonder and tourist attraction, the surrounding forest and wetland are important for biodiversity.
The wetland provides a valuable habitat for migrating wading bird species in the dry season, and the forest hosts several threatened mammal taxa such as pangolin and chevrotain. The site is also much valued by the local community and has long been used as a meeting point, picnic ground, and general retreat. Local villagers also utilize the area for resources including palm wine, hunting, fishing, basket weaving, etc.
The protection and conservation of the Kpatawee Waterfall can be achieved through mobilizing community stewardship, capacity building, and designing a monitoring regime in the province. SCNL Executive Director, Mr. Michael F. Garbo said the training also highlighted to the participants the importance of Kpatawee Waterfall, and how its proper management is key to attracting tourists. “Community dwellers were selected by Jalk Enterprise, and trained on how to use a camera, camera trap, and how to guide the movement of visitors/tourists. When we have the proper set up of Kpatawee Waterfall, it will attract more visitors/ tourists, and the communities and county will benefit,” he said.
The County local administration recognized the need to engage in a public, and private partnership for the Kpatawee Waterfall to be managed as an enterprise to generate income and support livelihood for the county and the local communities. Following the agreement with Jalk 7 | P a g e Enterprises, the private sector company has moved to transform the site with the construction of eco-friendly facilities and putting into place a management structure for the operation of the facility as a tourist site.
The training is part of the E&E Program’s drive to support the Government’s efforts in achieving diversified and inclusive economic growth through investments in sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture, food security, job creation, and improved resilience to climate change and natural disasters. It also reflects on UNDP’s works to empower the population and build a resilient nation, which supports the government to develop and implement interventions aimed at improving the lives of the people.