Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 October 2018:
Climate change is hitting Sierra Leone very hard. Recent tragic disasters, caused by heavy rains in the capital Freetown – especially last year’s deadly mudslide in Regent, which took the lives of over a thousand people, leaving thousands homeless is more than a wakeup call.
Whilst such disasters have been labelled as manmade, what is evidently clear is that Sierra Leone’s weather pattern is rapidly changing in line with global climate change. There is need for urgent action.
The surge in deforestation to make way for growing human settlements and rising population in the capital is having adverse effects on the environment, especially the ecosystem.
The Society for Climate Change Communication (S4CCC) Sierra Leone, is a volunteer youth-run campaigning Civil Society Organization.
It was established in 2016 to communicate information about climate change, it impacts and innovative strategies to help Sierra Leone adapt to the new climate reality. It was founded in reaction to the negative environmental and climate change impacts observed on the welfare of millions of Sierra Leoneans.
Flooding during the raining season, off season rains and dry spells have sent growing seasons out of kilter, in a country dependent on a rain-fed agriculture.
S4CCC’s Vision and Mission
S4CCC’s Vision is for the development of an agile Sierra Leone, that is committed to rapid transformation to a sustainable path; a proud Sierra Leone that leads West Africa on climate adaptation and protection of its biodiversity, and a prepared Sierra Leone where all our citizens are aware of the dangers of climate change impacts and the action they can take to adapt to and mitigate against their effects.
Our mission is to promote awareness of the dangers that climate change poses and the readily available solutions that can be implemented to help Sierra Leone rapidly transform to a sustainable path.
It is aiming to achieve this mission by developing a multi-channel programme of climate change communication with tailored messages to effectively raise awareness on climate change at local community, Chiefdom, regional and national levels; creating partnership networks that can act as a conduit of information between communities and chiefdoms at national and world level organizations; and promoting available sustainable solutions that will aid adaptation to and mitigate against climate change impacts.
S4CCC’s Work and Successes
The Society for Climate Change Communication has been organizing community and schools environmental outreach programmes since 2016, using newspapers, radio, TV appearances and social media promoting awareness. http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/news/item/2669-s4ccc-sl-engages-pamronko-community-on-the-relevance-of-wetlands
S4CCC was responsible for breaking the mudslide and flooding tragedy internationally, engaging with over 20 international wire services, national and regional media in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Holland, the USA, South Africa and Japan, achieving a twitter reach of 270,000 over a 3-day period.
It ensured that the tragedy was taken seriously worldwide as a national emergency, and that it was placed squarely at the intersection where man-made activities (deforestation caused by settlement encroachment) meet climate change impacts (3 x the annual rainfall and more intense storms).
Before the 2018 General elections in Sierra Leone, the S4CCC organized a one-day seminar at the Africell-American Corner for political parties to prioritize environmental issues in their manifestos:
S4CCC have also organized three beach cleaning events, including taking part in the recent EU sponsored clean-up on the 15th September 2018 (world clean-up day) at Lumley/Aberdeen beach in Freetown. (Photos: S4CCC team, members of the School Green Club, and the Sierra Consortium 4 Climate Change and sustainable development teams, cleaning the beaches).
S4CCC was part of the Sierra Leone Environment and Agriculture Data Collaborative group that delivered the first Agriculture and Environment Hackathon competition for some of the brightest Sierra Leone coders and software developers to come up with user-friendly, climate smart and innovative solutions addressing key data and service challenges in our Agriculture and Environment sectors.
Tree planting initiative launched
In August 2018, in a surprise and welcome move President Bio announced a new national tree planting campaign to run through until September end. S4CCC agreed that “having just one tree-planting day in the year is too little to be impactful”.
The campaign will make good impact on environmental pledges and will seek to increase community involvement in forest management and raise awareness about the negative effects of deforestation.
The Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security – Joseph Ndanema, urged citizens – especially small-holder farmers to plant trees that will both improve nutrition or generate income, such as cashew nut, cocoa, fruit or medicinal trees.
S4CCC welcomes the announcement of the campaign, but calls on the government to go further and implement the following:
- Make this a year-round tree-planting campaign for each and every year of this administration with a programmed approach to reach every corner of Sierra Leone.
- Create jobs by encouraging nursery production of saplings to support the campaign
- Provide Arboriculture training for farmers
- Engage local community-based organizations – with the expertise and track record to help deliver the campaign
- Seek funding from carbon offsetting schemes to fund the campaign, training and nursery production
- Designate more ancient forests to protect and enhance our natural capital and biodiversityPlanting trees will prevent soil erosion and absorb CO2 – one of the main causes of climate change. This matters because Sierra Leone is the third most vulnerable country in the world to climate change, so anything that reduces co2, will benefit the country and its citizens.
The S4CCC Director and Founder, Alfred Fornah was awarded Ambassador for Climate Action during a ceremony organized by Sierra Young Diplomats on the 25th April 2018, at Family Kingdom in Freetown.
The Society for Climate Change Communication is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Freetown City Council.
The organisation is a company limited by guarantee (Sierra Leone Company Registration Number SL280617SOCIEO1810), managed by a dedicated Board of Directors that is committed to transparency and accountability.
S4CCC is located at 22 Ansley Street Freetown, Sierra Leone. Telephone Contact: +23277908976