Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 November 2021:
Yesterday, I visited three of the sixty-two FreetownTheTreeTown planting locations (reforestation areas). I was accompanied by project team members, Tommy Garnett CEO of implementing partner Environment Foundation Africa (EFA), Charly Facheux of African Wildlife Foundation, Councillor Junisa Kamara – Freetown City Council (FCC) Climate Change Committee Chairperson, Councillor Abdul Karim Fofanah – FCC Communications Committee Chairperson, and Councillor Zainab Conteh – FCC Foreign Relations Chairperson.
Launched in January 2020 as part of TransformFreetown, the FreetownTheTreeTown campaign aims to plant, track and grow one million trees over three years.
Freetown and the Western Area Peninsular is divided into thirteen catchment areas that have been massively affected by deforestation as was highlighted by the World Bank Multi City Hazards Report of 2018. The 13 catchment areas are:
Catchment 1 Aberdeen
Catchment 2 Congo Town
Catchment 3 Tower Hill
Catchment 4, Gloucester/Leicester
Catchment 5 Kissy
Catchment 6 Samura Town
Catchment 7 Regent-Grafton
Catchment 8 Yams Farm
Catchment 9 York
Catchment 10 Sussex
Catchment 11 Angola Town
Catchment 12 Baoma
Catchment 13 Regent-Lumley.
Sixty-two reforestation areas were targeted for planting and growing by ten Community Based Organisations (CBO) thus creating green jobs for 600 youths.
250,000 trees were planted in 2020 and 240,000 trees and shrubs plus 60,000 mangroves have been planted in 2021.
Each tree, shrub and mangrove planted is digitally tracked by the CBO growing teams assigned to each tree.
We visited Catchment 10a in Sussex at the Guma Valley Dam area at Mile 13 where 86,000 trees have been planted by CBO YARDO-SL this year.
At Catchment 3, Tower Hill Guma Valley compound, 1,000 trees were planted there by CBO FEDURP. It was exciting to see the growth of the trees planted last year and to talk to the growing teams who take such obvious pride in caring for the trees assigned to them.
We ended the exercise 5 hours later at Catchment 7a at Wantik Community in Grafton where 8,000 trees have been planted by CBO EICSEDAP.
The campaign has a tree survival target of 80% but the excellent news is that during the 2020 planting cycle, a 95% tree survival rate was achieved as a result of the robust tracking, care and maintenance mechanism put in place.
Last Thursday, 11th November 2021, I continued spending time with fire victims’ families, listening to heartrending stories and offering words of comfort. I was pleased that Freetown City Council could provide some immediate food support to those living or working in the two buildings that burnt down. Much more support will be delivered in the coming days. (Photos below).
I am grateful to Councillor Arthur Mansaray and Councillor Koto Lamin, and Hon Unpha Kamara and Hon Lawyer Bah for being with the affected community day in and day out. I ended the day at the local radio station.
Smarting from the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, where she was fettered by world leaders, businessmen and young climate activist, seeking her opinion on everything and anything on how to tackle the greatest climate emergency facing mankind, once again, Mayor Akin Sawyer have proved to all of us, what it means practicing what you preach. A leader that leads by example. No drama Mrs Akin Swayer can truly say she represents the sort of political leadership, that’ the world is lacking and is running in short supply. A principled political leader in a polarised world full of politicians mostly men in grey suits, that only like to stuck divisions amongst their people. She can talk the talk and Walk the walk. Tackling climate change, and changing our human habits, so we can meet our targets to reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, especially our over reliance on fossil fuel, such as coal powered generators and the black gold, it is reassuring to know we have a Mayor that is at the forefront in this fight.
Planting of trees, to stop soil erosion, there by preventing the danger of extreme flooding, as we witnessed in recent times in Freetown and the peninsula , I think is about time our international partners, and NGos start to recognised the enormous challenge facing a country like ours that is susceptible to extreme weather conditions not out of our oen doing but their’s.
Sierra-leone and Africa in general or countries in the Southern hemisphere have contributed less in creating the climate emergency facing us, but at the same time our countries are the ones that are going to bare the brunt of the effects of climate change. Already there are huge movements of people due to the effects of climate change. The sooner world leaders come to agreement and find ways to mitigate this environmental disaster facing us the better. I tbink our Mayor is doing her best.
Well done Madame Mayor. for tackling this tree planting exercise with the seriousness it deserves. When I visit Freetown, it breaks my heart to see trees especially fruit trees being cut down. No obvious reason is sometimes given for this other than ‘it is in the way’. In some communities, you dont see even a leaf. Yet everyone complains of how hot it is.
Thankfully the trees planted by Her Ladyship are being tracked, so they will not be burnt or cut. COP26 has shown us that we have to take good care of the environment, if we are to reduce the Earth’s temperature. Every little helps to achieve that target.
Just where did this lady (Mayor Aki-Sawyer) spring from? She behaves like an alien from somewhere in outer space. Our political environment cannot contain her; she seems to be everywhere at the same time. As much as the Bio government has been trying to sap her powers she is always ahead of the game – catch me if you can. If she’s not shaking billionaire Jeff Bezzos’hand in Scotland during the climate conference, she is being hosted by British television in London or some dignitaries somewhere. When she lands in Freetown from a foreign trip, she is besieged by environmentalists who cannot wait to embrace her physically and one of her numerous pet projects to convert Freetown to Treetown. She is on a collision course with the causes of natural disasters and we know who the winner is already.
The Mayor is saying to Bio and his government STAND ASIDE MY OLD PALS ,YOU ARE NOT IN MY CLASS WHEN IT COMES TO LEADERSHIP. YOU (BIO) WENT TO SCOTLAND FOR THE CLIMATE CONFERENCE AND MADE A FOOL OF YOURSELF, YOU DID NOT EVEN KNOW THAT DEFORESTATION WAS TAKING PLACE IN YOUR COUNTRY WHEN CONFRONTED BY A JOURNALIST. WHAT A SHAME.