CEPF Grant Director and members of the RIT visit projects in Ghana, Nigeria
The CEPF RIT in the Guinean Forests of West Africa Biodiversity Hotspot supports the conservation work of local and international NGOs in countries across the hotspot. Part of our commitment is to empower civil society organizations in the hotspot by providing technical support to help them implement their conservation projects at best.
In October, two CEPF large grantees in Ghana, the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) and Man & Nature welcomed CEPF Grant Director, Peggy Poncelet and members of our team on project sites in western Ghana for a supervision mission. The visit was to review project performance. Our team visited GWS project sites at the Cape Three Points forest reserve and saw how the CEPF funded project is helping to provide site specific information to support integrating conservation into the livelihoods of forest dependent communities. “We’re collecting data to help push for policy that contributes to biodiversity conservation in Ghana,” said Sandra Owusu-Gyamfi, the project manager. Our team appreciated the performance so far and made recommendations for improvement.
Our team also visited sites along the Ghana-Côte d'Ivoire border where the NGO Man & Nature is using the financial support from CEPF to develop green value chains that adapt global best practices in local forest communities. On the Ghana side, the project works in partnership with a local NGO, WAPCA, and the private sector. During the visit, our team was excited to see how people in communities have embraced this community-based conservation model, joining forces for forest management through a local committee, and pursuing sustainable economic alternatives. The communities are eager to participate in project activities and enjoy the livelihood benefits of conservation. “Overall, we’re very happy with the progress. The team and I have seen a lot of commitment on the grantee side and can say the project goals are being met,” said Peggy, CEPF Grant Director.
Between the 13th and 17th October, the RIT and CEPF Grant Director visited four grantees in Nigeria; Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), United Purpose (UP), Biodiversity Preservation Centre (BPC) and Cross River State Carbon Emission Board (CRS-ECEB). The team visited WCS project sites in Afi, Mbe and Okwango division in Cross River State, met and interacted with park rangers and communities. These communities are working to reap the livelihoods benefits of conservation and our team discussed business and sustainability plans with WCS to ensure that these gains last long into the future.
There was also a visit to sites in the Esuk Mbat community in Cross River state where BPC is implementing a tortoise and biodiversity conservation project backed by the financial support of CEPF. The project manager, Dr. Edem Eniang took the CEPF-RIT team around different zones of a 14 hectare community wildlife sanctuary donated by the Esuk Mbat community and established under the CEPF project. Impressed, the CEPF Grant Director, Peggy Poncelet said “a project like this encourages us that there is hope and that we’re really making a difference in our sphere of influence. I am very grateful to the BPC team and the Esuk Mbat community members for making this happen.” This site visit ended with a symbolic tree planting exercise by members of the visiting team, BPC, community members and school children.
“Success in project implementation like this amidst the many challenges we face, gives hope for conservation and community participation in natural resource management,” said Mariana Carvalho, RIT Team Leader. A cultural dance performance by Esuk Mbat women and children groups ended the visit.
- By GFWA
CEPF is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, and the World Bank.