Sustainable Economic Empowerment to enhance biodiversity conservation within the Cestos-Sapo Corridor of Liberia.
To develop two hectare aquaculture, as sustainable alternative livelihood to eradicate wildlife trade within the Cestos-Sapo Corridor.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
I am 18 years old or older.
Initiative's representative name
Bernard S. Davies
Initiative's representative date of birth
March 5, 1958
Initiative's representative gender
Headquarters location: country
Headquarters location: city
Where are you making a difference?
Website or social media url(s)
Start-up (first few activities have happened)
Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.
During the Liberian civil war, we sought refuge in Guinea Conakry and established an NGO, known as “Agriculture Development Aid (ADA)”, in partnership with "Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine (OCPH). ADA/OCPH, which was funded by Caritas Germany from 1996 to 2003, developed 324 hectares for aquaculture and irrigation swamp-rice farming and benefited over 7,000 refugee women, girls and local land owners annually in 3 refugees’ settlements (Kouankan, Laine and Kola). See one of grant letters attached.
Upon our return to Liberia, we moved by compassion to establish CARD in 2005 to legalize our vision to educate rural farmers engage in sustainable aquaculture and irrigation swamp-rice farming to enhance food and income security.
2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
505,489 hectares of biodiversity reserve is under severe threat within the Cestos-Sapo Corridor, by illegal wildlife trade, shifting cultivation, illicit pit-sawing and charcoal production, which are exacerbated by post-war bad governance and the recent devastating aftermath of the deadly Ebola virus disease. As wildfire destroyed millions of hectares in Brazil and Australia in 2019, not stopping deforestation on the earth's equator may cause our planet to burn-up into flames and extinct life.
3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We will develop 2 hectare aquaculture, the fastest growing food-producing economy, constituting 50% of fish produced globally. The 2 hectares have the potential to produce 108,000 tilapia fish (3 fish/M2 x 10,000 M2/ha x 2 ha x 2 harvests/year x 90% actual production), and generate over US$54,000.00 annually, at 50% reduced market price, as sustainable alternative protein food and income security, by:
(1) Using 30% of annual income to provide interest-free loans for irrigation swamp-rice farming, relevant to motivate the affected populations abandon their traditional shifting cultivation, illegal wildlife trade, illicit pit-sawing and charcoal production.
(2) 20% for site maintenance to maximize productivity and enhance sustainability.
(3) 50% to replicate project activities by one hectare annually to ensure that the over 150,000 affected populations within the Cestos-Sapo Corridor enhance protein food and income security to motivate them co-exist and police biodiversity species in a sustainable way. We are projecting 10 hectares developed, by 2030, to supply over one million tilapia fish and generate over US$0.50 million annually to enhance long-term positive impact.
4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?
CARD's innovative approach is to sign an MOU with community-based Women-led “Project Management Committee (PMC)”, of 60% female and 40% male participation to co-manage post project outcomes, ensure transparency, enhance gender equality and the over 80% role women play in food production in Liberia.
The role of the CARD/PMC:
• The Clear communication of financial responsibilities and authority levels to all employees.
• Formulation of accounting and financial management policies and procedures.
• Strategic planning and utilization of annual outcomes.
• Review management accounts and periodic independent reports.
• Ensuring that we comply with all legal obligations to win local solidarity and enhance biodiversity conservation laws.
5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?
To enhance sustainability, CARD will partner with the following institutions:
1. Community Aid for Rehabilitation & Development (CARD) - Lead Applicant, ensuring accountability and transparency in project management, reporting and meeting stakeholders and donor institutions.
2. Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) – Technical Partner, supplies tilapia fish fingerlings, conduct capacity building workshops, and provides consultancy in site feasibility, co-supervises site development, and construction/installation of fish hatcheries at every site.
3. Local authority and the Forestry Development Authority (Stakeholders), provide protection of project personnel and materials, as well as, ensuring that local population work with forest rangers to execute biodiversity conservation laws of Liberia.
4. Community-based Women-led “Project Management Committee (PMC)”, lead post-project activities, ensures transparency / accountability and enhance all-level gender equality.
6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?
In 2014, Yellequelleh District in Bong County, central Liberia, was severely affected by the deadly Ebola virus disease, which killed over 500 persons and affected over 20,000, which affected food production, distribution and access.
The Save the Children International intervened intervened, by embarking on the program, known as “Save the Children International/USAID/DCHA/TFP Emergency Food Assistance for Ebola Affected Families in Yellequelleh District, Bong County”. After the project, the affected beneficiaries have been abandoned without alternative livelihood.
Therefore, CARD has developed 5 hectares for plantains and bananas and 1 hectare aquaculture, as sustainable alternative protein food and income security, relevant to eradicate the consumption of Ebola-infected bush meat products, which, according to CDC and WHO, provoked the outbreak and spread of Ebola. These activities are enhancing biodiversity conservation and mitigating Climate Change in central Liberia.
7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?
The PMC/CARD will use about 50% (US$27,000.00) of annual incomes from fish products to scale-up and/or replicate the aquaculture program by one hectare per year, in a progressive way, to develop over 10 hectares by 2030 to cover the entire biodiversity-rich corridor, which will always be co-managed by community-based women-led “Project Management Committee (PMC)”, without additional or extended funding support.
Therefore, by 2030, the project will be supplying over one 1 million tilapia fish on the local and bush-meat consuming markets to generate over US$0.50 million annually, so as to enhance SDGs #(1, 2, 5 & 13) and end biodiversity loses within the Upper Guinea Biodiversity Hotspot of West Africa in a sustainable way.
8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?
Producing over one million tilapia fish annually, by 2030, within this biodiversity-rich “505,489 hectare Cestos-Sapo Corridor” on the rotating earth’s equator will, not only, enhance sustainable biodiversity conservation, but also, win global environmental solidarity in eradicating deforestation and mitigating Climate Change in a sustainable way.
The project will, also, create a share value, by adding economic value to surplus fingerlings and tilapia fish products for export to improve Liberia’s foreign exchange earnings and reduce the huge trade deficit in imported food products, which subject us into abject poverty and draining our economy out of cash by US$200 million annually.
9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
To achieve sustainability at short, medium and long-term, the PMC/CARD will ensure that annual incomes from fish products are mandatorily used to enhance the following outcomes:
o 20%, as recurring cost for site maintenance, and to empower the PMC share lessons learned from site to site, supervise every post project activity, in closed collaboration of local and international partners.
o 30% as interest-free micro-credit loans (revolving funds) for irrigation swamp-rice farming, relevant to motivate farmers abandon their traditional slash-and-burn farming, illicit pit-sawing and charcoal production.
o 50% to enhance project replication in other feasibly biodiversity-rich and other feasible communities within the Corridor.
10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
CARD’s current team comprises of Liberian refugees who returned from Guinea and the Ivory Coast, with over 20 years of practical experience in aquaculture and irrigation swamp-rice development and management. We managed over 400,000 Euros as grant funding for over eight consecutive years (from 1996 to 2003) in Guinea, funded by DCV Germany, under the management of CARD’s 20-year experienced Executive Director, Mr. Bernard S. Davies, who is also a Civil Engineer. See a grant letter attached.
11. How did you hear about this challenge?