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.