SCNL Takes Tourists To The Elephant Falls
Advertising the Elephant Falls for future business people
SCNL And REDD+ Visit Elephant Falls
The Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SNCL) is working along with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) to improve the Elephant Falls in Grand Cape Mount County for future business ventures. The conservation organization continues to attract tourists to the beautiful site for exposure. Months ago, SCNL took several tourists to the Elephant Falls for a site visit.
The visit which was facilitated by SCNL lasted for three days. SCNL and the tourists met with the local authority at Camp Israel (the last town bordering the Elephant Falls) including the town chief, Abraham Samah. Chief Samah welcomed the guests and told them to ‘feel free’ while touring the falls. The tourists had an amazing time while touring the Mano River, as they were provided information relevant to the Elephant Falls. There was morning hiking along the Mano River, while the tourists swam, read books, and played games until the sun came down.
After the tour of the Elephant Falls, the tourists were again taken to Camp Israel where they had a pleasant interaction with the locals including the town chief. During these interactions, the visitors acknowledged [the community people] the importance of the Elephant Falls and the need for protecting the park. The visitors also purchased some local food products such as pumpkins, groundnuts, and pineapples from the people as a way of appreciating the ‘cultural values of the people of camp Israel.
As part of efforts to make the Elephant Falls meet international standards, on the quality of services being delivered to tourists visiting the site, SCNL’s on-site support team, comprising of two females and three males were zealous in ensuring that guests received the best support during their stay at the park.
At the end of the fruitful rewarding tour, the tourists shared their experiences. “We admired the beauty of the Elephant Falls; we encourage the Government through SCNL to improve the quality of services being provided”.
Exploring nature in Western Liberia
In continuation of branding the Elephant Falls to international partners and tourists through an exchange of information between visitors and non-visitors, the National Coordinator of REDD+, Saah A. David, along with a team from SCNL visited Gola Forest National Park to showcase the ‘wonders and beauties’ of the Elephant Falls that consists of wildlife, and a beautiful landscape.
Meeting with community dwellers in Camp Israel, (a community closer to the Elephant Falls), REDD+ National Coordinator said REDD provides livelihood support to communities to help protect the forest against illegal activities. In response, the town chief, Abraham Samah, welcomed the guests and appreciated SCNL and REDD+ for protecting the forest, and communities.
The team went hiking along the Mano River to observe the different attractions of the park, and toured the different sites of the Elephant Falls, with an explanation from the SCNL’s team on how to engage the fall with care as it is very steep. Being one of Liberia’s most beautiful places to visit, tourists visiting the site have continued to give positive feedback about the wonder of the fall, as well as its potential for being a number one eco-tourism destination in Liberia and recommendation for services. The elephant falls are the real face of the Gola ecosystem. It possesses the natural beauty that supports eco-tourism ventures. It is the biggest waterfalls found in the Gola Forest National Park (GFNP) that connects Gola with nature.
In September, 20202, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), and the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL) met with the local leaders of the Sokpo clan, Grand Cape Mount County where a memorandum (MOU) of understanding was signed declaring their willingness of working with SCNL and FDA to have the Elephant Falls as an eco-tourism site.
SCNL Clears Elephant Falls Eco-Tourism Road
Maintaining sanity, and attracting tourists
At conservation sites across Liberia, due to its rich nature, vegetation continues to grow. With help from the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), these conservation sites are being maintained. Early this year, SCNL carried out a re-clearing of Eco-tourism Road leading to Elephant Falls in Gola Forest National Park in Grand Cape Mount County. This initiative is constant, solely for the purpose of accessibility to one of Liberia’s best eco-tourism sites for the movement of vehicles and people.
With support from SCNL, Eco-tourism Officer, Adolphus Tiah, and the help of eleven energetic youth, including two females (who cooked for the volunteers) from Camp Israel and the adjacent communities cleared out the vegetation and removed fallen trees along the road. The clearing of the road grants easy access also to the team on the ecotourism- ecolodge construction assessment to have easy access to the site.
Arthur Madawee, a youth from Camp Israel thanked SCNL for the opportunity in getting the youth involved in the re-clearing exercise and hopes for continuation.
SCNL, a leading biodiversity conservation organization, also, through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), is implementing Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP) aimed at establishing a modern eco-lodge for tourists/visitors at Lake Piso and the Elephant Falls in Gola Forest National Park. The key objective is to attract eco-tourism as a means of generating income, and livelihood activities for communities and the state.
SCNL Through PAPFor Project Awards Full Scholarships To Masters’ Students
Advancing education for the conservation of nature
Nature’s conservation involves the managing of natural resources, preventing exploitation of the forest, and protecting wildlife. This can however be achieved by educating citizens willing to take on the challenge. At the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), providing higher education to deserving individuals for the advancement of conservation is essential.
With support from the European Union-funded Project (PAPFor), which is being implemented by SCNL in collaboration with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), full masters’ scholarships have been awarded to Shedrick E. Smith, Masters of Environmental Management and Quality Control, Dickarmien A. Deemie, Masters of Science Biodiversity Conservation, Comfort T. Sakui, Masters of Science in Biodiversity Conservation, and Benjamin N. Queminee, Masters of Science Biodiversity Conservation to study at the Njala University in neighboring Sierra Leone; and Michael E. Taire and Salimatu Dunnoh, Masters in Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation at the University of Liberia (UL).
Early this month, the four master’s students attending in Sierra Leone, as part of the tradition at the Njala University, participated in the matriculation program. The jubilant program was marked by the marching of the students into the hall, speeches, and oath-taking.
Deemie said the matriculation was meant to create a space for acquaintance between staff, faculty, and students. Adding “Yes, the matriculation was quite superb as it provided the platform for the orientation of new students into Njala University’s culture and various postgraduate programs”.
The Vice-Chancellor at Njala University welcomed the new students into the University and encouraged them to take their lessons seriously. “Maintain focus and live by the policy of the University in order to ensure a [harmonious learning environment] for students and teachers,” the vice-chancellor stressed.
Deemie thanked SCNL and partners for the scholarship and hopes the learning opportunity will continue in the coming years for others to get advanced education in conservation.
The master’s student also said Liberia holds the largest remaining of the Upper Guinean Forest, which hosts several important ‘flagship species’ that include: Chimpanzees, Pangolins, African elephants, etc. Deemie on behalf of the scholarship students then shared that upon graduation, they will return home (Liberia), specifically, to SCNL and the FDA, to contribute to the growth and development of Liberia’s forest sector and the natural resource management of Liberia.
“I had already enjoyed a cordial working relationship with the team at SCNL while serving in my role as a researcher, and I would like to build on past experiences. It would also be an exciting experience coming back to contribute to the conservation of Liberia’s rich biodiversity that’s under anthropogenic threats and I anticipate we will be accorded the necessary space in our institutions to demonstrate the knowledge acquired after my graduation,” Deemie concluded.
Liberia and Sierra Leone Hold Gola Transboundary Technical Dialogue Meeting
Highlighting Gola Transboundary problems, finding solutions
The Government of Liberia (GoL), through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), and the Government of Sierra Leone through the National Protected Areas Authority (NPAA) on May 11, 2022, held a technical sub-committee meeting in Marshall City, Margibi County. The aim of the one-day dialogue was centered around finding lasting solutions to challenges surrounding the Greater Gola Transboundary Landscape.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), West Africa Biodiversity and Low Emission Development (WABiLED), EU delegation, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL), National Protected Areas Authority (NPAA), Gola Rainforest National Park, senior technicians from the Conservation Department of the FDA, amongst others.
During the technical dialogue, relevant issues including the overall objectives, and purpose of the Transboundary Sub-Committee building on the transboundary Peace Park Accord Agreement, law enforcement (planning and implementing) transboundary patrols were discussed.
These discussions were annexed by the two technical sessions which addressed legal issues, solutions and enabling frameworks, communication, public education, integration of security agencies, training for rangers within the context of transboundary patrols, and the need for public education and awareness regarding the importance of Transboundary cooperation and joint patrols. While the second technical session addressed the need for broader institutional cooperation, available data within each of the countries, and the focal points to support the Landscape Land Use Plan.
The stakeholders also deliberated the issue of [peace and security] within the transboundary areas, and the unavoidable need to ensure the availability of livelihoods for the people living within the proximity of the transboundary.
In his opening address earlier, FDA Deputy Managing Director for Operations, Hon. Joseph J. Tally hailed the participants on behalf of the GoL for the courage to discuss transboundary issues which he said remains the heart of ‘peace and security’ between the two Mano River Union countries. “We welcomed the participation of the Sierra Leonean side, the FDA is committed to the fullest in ensuring that the 3cs approach-conservation, community, and commercial forestry programs are adhered to. The GoL is also making effort to manage the forest, and settling the basis for a prosperous social and economic environment for future generations,” Hon. Tally said.
At the close of the one-day technical dialogue, a resolution was agreed on by the committee on managing the Gola Transboundary: Whereas, we the Transboundary Technical Sub-committee meeting in the City of Marshall, Margibi County being cognizant of the challenges and needs for regional collaboration at the technical level to support transboundary collaboration; Whereas, recognizing the need for substantive technical collaboration for the implementation/realization of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Republic of Liberia under the auspices of the Mano River Union in 2011 and updated in 2019; Whereas, acknowledging the provision for the establishment of a framework for the joint management and conservation of the Gola Forest, including the setting up of an intergovernmental coordination committee to direct and coordinate management and coordination activities; be it resolved that the Transboundary Technical Sub-committee agrees to collaborate with the Gola-PAPFor project for the purpose of establishing joint transboundary patrols and development of a land-use plan for the greater Gola Landscape consistent with the attached roadmap/action plan.
In a closing remark, SCNL Executive Director, Michael F. Garbo, thanked participants and encouraged all forestry partners to keep moving forward and keep engaging with respective governments in order to achieve the intended goals. “I want to thank each of you, especially our colleagues from Sierra Leone who drove long distances for a worthy cause. We also extend thanks and appreciation to the FDA, EU-PAPfor (for providing the funding), and the opportunity to hold this transboundary technical dialogue. We are looking forward to more support for the implementation of what have been discussed today”.