A short assessment undertaken of the impact of artisanal and/ illicit mining on the environment
About the Implementing organization
Name: The Playhouse Foundation
Country: Sierra Leone
Year of establishment: 2009
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Women’s association or organization / Indigenous group or organization
Three assessments were undertaken during the first phase of the project: October– December 2017. It was important to understand the environment in which the project was situated, its population and the status of the livelihood restoration activities.
47 groups were assessed on all three communities and these included 32 FBOs, 15 of which were women-led. 1,167 indirect beneficiaries (532 male and 635 female) from the 47 groups were identified. The report noted that only a limited number of a 2 FBOs out of 15 FBOs in Small Sefadu, 2 FBOs out of 11 FBOs in Kensay and 1 FBO out of the 6 FBOs in Gbaima Community were formally registered. None of the FBOs or CBOs had received entrepreneurship training.
A map of 14 acres of land to be reclaimed at Small Sefadu and an additional 25 acres in Gbaima showing mined out areas, land areas that have been degraded as result of artisan diamond mining. Artisan mining and in most cases, illicit diamond and gold are still being carried out in Gbense Chiefdom which falls with a diamond zone. There is not exact qualitative or quantitative data on the extent of land degradation as result of artisan diamond mining. It is however clear that badly damaged land from artisan/ illicit mining is very expensive to reclaim
Forests / Wetlands / Rivers / Grasslands / Drylands
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Pollution prevention, clean up / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Disaster risk reduction / Health / Climate action
Land reclamation within a radius of 200 acres or more in the townships. This includes draining the open pits and mine heaps, backfilling them rocks (for parts of the playground and where light construction will take place), backfilling the land with laterite and manure for the agricultural areas. The expected results are to prepare the land for climate-smart agriculture and agro-ecology initiatives and for the construction of the Community Park and Children’s Playground.
Cleaning up of polluted streams and waterways. The expected results would be to support the irrigation of small gardens and farms and to provide the communities with better access to water for other activities.
Replanting of five hundred trees varieties such as Acacia, Baji, Yemani, Tectona and Palm within the ‘Green Zone’ and in the Community Park and Children’s Playground. The expected results would be to prevent soil erosion and reduce deforestation which affects the environment negatively.
Sustainable Development Impacts
- Training of trainers on climate smart agriculture and agroecology to increase the productivity through the conservation of the nutrients of the soil and yield of smallholder farmers that will lift them up from poverty. Stakeholders’ consultations, town-hall meetings, focus group meetings on climate change, to build awareness of the threats to the environment
- Establishment and/revival of ‘environment’ clubs or ‘nature’ clubs in schools and/or neighborhood clubs in each of four townships to reach children at an early stage in their lives
- Social mobilization activities through radio programs: group discussions, one-on-interviews, ‘environment hour’ for children and farmers, door-to-door campaigns on the environment
- Advocacy for a chiefdom by-law establishing the ‘Green Zone’ and the banning of artisanal and/or illicit mining in the two hundred acres of land that has been reclaimed, as well as a moratorium on the felling of trees for charcoal or firewood
Results will be scaled up in the other communities and replicated by training of trainers:
- Radio broadcasts: panel discussions, one-on-one interviews, technical presentations and interviews with project beneficiaries, chiefdom authorities and partners to share knowledge;
- Videos and films of activities and interviews will be shown on television and used to share knowledge;
-Digital photographs will also be taken and stored;
- Publication – online and print media;
- Social Media: Facebook, Whatsapp, Linked-in and Twitter for updates;
- The Playhouse Foundation’s website;
- Town-hall meetings to share knowledge, lessons learned and experience gained; and
- Open houses, site visits, study tours and exhibitions to be organized based on an established schedule.
The Playhouse Foundation utilized its best efforts to generate and share knowledge. Lessons learned and experienced gained in the project were gathered and shared with all stakeholders, including its funding and strategic partners for applicability. The Playhouse Foundation also endeavored to make contact with organizations that have undertaken land reclamation from mined out areas like Sierra Rutile’s operations in Moyamba District, the Octea Diamond Group’s operations in Kono District and Shandong Steel’s operations in Tonkolili District, in order to learn from their successes and failures. These experiences were used for applicability in other chiefdoms.
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