Sustainable Economic Empowerment (SEE Liberia) to eradicate biodiversity loses within the "Cestos-Sapo Corridor" in Sinoe County, Liberia.

To develop 2-hectare aquaculture, as sustainable alternative protein food and income security to enhance biodiversity conservation.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • 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

Mr. Bernard S. Davies, Executive Director of CARD, and native Kru-man of the "Cestos-Sapo Corridor.

Initiative's representative date of birth

March 5, 1958, in Wiah's Town, Geetroh, Sinoe Co.

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Liberia

Headquarters location: city

Palm Village, Caldwell Township, Monrovia

Where are you making a difference?

Cestos-Sapo Biodiversity Corridor, Sinoe County, South-eastern Liberia.

Website or social media url(s)

facebook: Bernard Davies in red t-shirt

Date Started

February 2019

Project Stage

  • Start-up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €50k - €100k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

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)”, which partnered with the "Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine (OCPH). ADA/OCPH, which attracted 400,000 Euros from DCV Germany from 1996 to 2003, developed 324 hectares for aquaculture and irrigation swamp-rice, and benefited over 7,000 refugee women, girls and local farmers annually in 3 refugee's settlements (Kouankan, Laine and Kola). See one of grant letters attached. Upon our return to Liberia, CARD was established in 2005 to legalize our vision and empower farmers in biodiversity-rich communities to engage in aquaculture, as sustainable and climate-smart food and income security.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

There are over 150,000 indigenous Liberians and poaching aliens, with no alternative livelihood, except illegal wildlife trade, shifting cultivation, illicit pit-sawing and charcoal production, within this 505,489 hectare "Cestos-Sapo Corridor", the second largest rain-forest in West Africa. Deforestation of the Corridor is a global emergency, after the "Paris Agreement on Climate Change" lives for over 25 years, without even recognizing the billions of metric tons of oxygen it produces.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We are proposing “Aquaculture”, which is the fastest growing food-producing economy, constituting 50% of fish produced globally, to enhance food security, so as to motivate the over 150,000 affected populations co-exist peacefully and police the perimeter of the “Cestos-Sapo Corridor”. CARD’s approach is to train and empower local youth and women groups to develop 2-hectares aquaculture, as sustainable alternative protein food and income security. Based on over 20 years of practical experience in aquaculture and irrigation swamp-rice farming in Guinea and Ivory Coast, our solution is justified as follow: 1. Two-hectare freshwater-tilapia fishpond can produce over 108,000 fish annually (3fish/m2 x 10,000 m2/ha x 2 hectares x 2 harvests/year x 90% actual production). 2. At 50% reduced unit price (US$0.50/fish) on the local markets, we can generate over US$54,000.00 annually, relevant to sustain the following outcomes: (1) Use 30% as "Interest-free micro-credit (Revolving funds) loans to support sustainable irrigation swamp-rice farming, (2) Use 20% for site maintenance & supervision; (3) 50% for project replication to cover the entire Corridor and its environs.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

CARD will sign and MOU with community-based Women-led “Project Management Committee (PMC)”, of 60% female participation to co-manage project outcomes with CARD, relevant to ensure transparency, accountability and gender equality, as compared to our past NGO-do-and-go unsustainable approach. The role of CARD/PMC: (1) The clear communication of financial responsibilities and authority levels of the PMC. (2) Formulation of accounting and financial management policies and procedures. (3) Strategic planning and approval of incomes from fish products, meeting before and after every harvest to review reports and accounts . (5) Ensuring that CARD/PMC comply with legal obligations, hire competent management staff and external audit

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

(1) Community Aid for Rehabilitation & Development (CARD) - Lead Applicant - is responsible for the management of project resources, including financial, materials and human, as well as, coordination and reporting. (2) Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) – provides technical consultancy, facilitates trainings of project participants and beneficiaries, oversees the supply of fingerlings and supervises the construction of fishponds and fish hatcheries. (3) Fauna & Flora International (FFI), which is recruiting local CSOs to participate in a 16-month Mentorship, starting May 2020, to build our capacity, and enhance biodiversity conservation and mitigate Climate Change within the Upper Guinea Biodiversity Hotspot of West Africa. (4) Community-based Women-led “Project Management Committee (PMC)” – Co-management partner, to ensure gender equality and women’s participatory decision-making, and to enhance transparency, accountability, sustainability and timely replication.

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?

We are targeting Yellequelleh District, which was severely affected by the deadly Ebola virus disease, and killed over 500 persons and affected over 20,000 rural populations. The EVD affected food production, distribution and access from 2014 to date, leaving the women population with no alternative but to engage in charcoal production and manual rocks crushing as their only optional livelihoods. The “Save the Children International/USAID/DCHA/TFP Emergency Food Assistance for Ebola Affected Families in Yellequelleh District, Bong County” assisted the affected populations from 2014 to 2016. After the "Save The Children" project, we are currently developing 5-ha plantains and bananas farm and 1-ha aquaculture, as alternative food and income security, which will be producing 5,000 plantain/banana fruits and 54,000 tilapia fish respectively by July 2020. We will use income provide interest-free loans to empower women and girls engage in climate-smart agriculture & economic activities.

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 (replicate) the program by 1 hectare every year, from 2 hectares in 2021 to 12 hectares by 2030. The project will, then, cover the major towns and villages to produce over 648,000 tilapia fish and generate over US$324,000.00 to enhance the "Act for Biodiversity" and sustainable socioeconomic development. We will also empower local women and girls to add economic value to their surplus fish products, by drying and packaging them for external sales and export. This will eradicate their traditional negative and illicit actions to mitigate biodiversity loses, alleviate abject poverty, end hunger, enhance gender equality & mitigate Climate Change.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

Producing over one million tilapia fish and generating over US$0.50 million 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 mitigating Climate Change in a sustainable way. The project will, also, create a share value, by attracting local consumers and exporting surplus fish products to improve Liberia’s foreign exchange earnings and reduce the country’s huge trade deficit in imported food products, which is draining our economy out of cash by over US$200 million annually from the 4th poorest country on earth.

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 strategically used to enhance the following outcomes: (1) 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. (2) 30% as interest-free micro-credit loans (revolving funds) for irrigation swamp-rice farming, relevant to motivate local populations abide by environmental regulations to abandon their traditional slash-and-burn farming, illicit pit-sawing and charcoal production. (3) 50% to replicate project activities in every biodiversity conservation area.

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 returnee from Guinea and the Ivory Coast, with over 20 years of practical experience in aquaculture and irrigation swamp-rice development. We have managed over 400,000 Euros as grant funding for refugees for 8-consecutive years (from 1996 to 2003) in Guinea, funded by DCV Germany, under our Executive Director, Mr. Bernard S. Davies, who is also a Civil Engineer - See a grant letter attached. Our Financial Officer earned a BSc in Accounting/management.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

This inspired (1)

Mr. Daniel

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