Roundtable event in Washington DC discusses EFA report on the interelationship between forest fragmentation and EVD in Africa

Environmental Resources Management (ERM) hosted a roundtable event in Washington DC on 29 October to present the findings of a recent study undertaken jointly by the ERM Foundation and the Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA). The study investigated the hypothesis that forest fragmentation may increase the likelihood of the Ebola virus passing from its wild host (hypothesided to be bats) to humans.
Participants at the roundtable included representatives from the World Bank, Metabiota, Eco Health Alliance, Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Critical Ecosystems Parthership Fund, DAI and InterAction. This follow’s last month’s launch of the report, with the support of UNDP, in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
This Washington DC roundtable represented EFA and the ERM Foundation’s on-going efforts to engage widely with relevant organizations and individuals to vet the study’s findings and work collaboratively to identify concrete ways to move forward in terms of additional research and and the policy recommendations that arise from the study.
EFA is particularly interested  in feeding these recommendations into post-Ebola recovery planning, and to ensure that better forest management is thoughtfully and systematically included in impact assessments for development programs.
EFA is currently planning a regional inter-disciplinary meeting in West Africa to take this process forward.



Message from Tommy Garnett, Executive Director of EFA:

I visited Tiwai Island over the weekend and was joined by the PCs Magona of Barri and Kanneh of Koya Chiefdoms. Also visiting was Umaru Wood, Planning and Development Manager of the National Tourist Board. The sight of fallen trees and badly damaged structures, invoked a feeling of awe and wonder. The thought of one storm causing so much physical damage in less than 10 minutes, was incomprehensible, yet real.

I was encouraged by the proactiveness of Paramount Chiefs Magona and Kanneh, who agreed on site, that all eight Tiwai host communities, will take part in the clearing up of the site. And there is a lot of clearing up to do, but we expect this initial phase of the rehab work to be completed in 2 weeks. Meanwhile, we will engage with all of our partners and friends of Tiwai to assist in whatever ways possible, with the rehabilitation of the facilities at Visitor Centre.

EFA and its partners, with the support of the host communities and their leaders would like to assure all the friends of Tiwai, that we will do our utmost to get the Visitor Centre functioning again before Christmas.

Many thanks to you all, for your support over the years.


A massive storm hit Tiwai Island

A massive storm hit Tiwai Island on 2nd October 2015, destroying many of the facilities on the Island, luckily leaving no human casualty behind. The destruction of the facilities at the Visitors’ Centre of the Tiwai Sanctuary is extensive. We would therefore greatly appreciate your support to rehabilitate the Visitors’ Centre Contributions can be made via our PayPal account.

EFA have been active on Tiwai Island since 2001, when we joined forces with Njala University’s Biological Sciences Department, Forestry Department, and the local authorities and people of Barri and Koya Chiefdoms, to reconstruct the facilities on Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary. Financed initially by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, with matching in-kind contributions from UNHCR, EFA, Njala University, the main goal of the project was to rebuild and re-equip the research and eco-tourism facilities on Tiwai Island, in an effort to restore the island’s pre-war status as an international biological research and ecotourism destination. A further underlying intention was to enable the host communities to protect the island in exchange for community development and livelihood assistance.

Visitor's Centre Tiwai

Visitor’s Centre Tiwai




Biodiversity Learning Centre

Environmental Education

The Environmental Foundation for Africa has just started a pilot program and invited 100 children from 5 different schools from around the Western Area Peninsular in Sierra Leone to our Biodiversity and Renewable Learning Centre on a 10-week journey to love nature and appreciate their environment.




Ebola Virus Disease and Forest Fragmentation in Africa, Report launched

On Tuesday 22nd September 2015, the UNDP Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, David Maclachlan-Karr and Executive Director of the National Protected Area Authority, Dr Kolleh Bangura launched a report by the Environmental Foundation for Africa and the ERM Foundation – Ebola Virus Disease and Forest Fragmentation in Africa.

Report Lunchedcross-section 2


Ebola Virus Disease and Forest Fragmentation in Africa – Final Report

Dear Friends and Colleagues

EFA and the ERM Foundation are pleased to share the final report on their study, which attempted to establish the links between Ebola Virus Disease and Forest Fragmentation in Africa.

We hope you will find the report useful for your work and please share within your networks. The link to the report is:

EVD and forest fragmentation in Africa_Summary

Ebola Virus Disease and Forest Fragmentation in Africa_Report

Chers Amis et Collègues

EFA et la Fondation ERM sont heureux de partager le rapport final sur leur étude, qui a tenté d’établir les liens entre la maladie d’Ebola Virus et Fragmentation de la forêt en Afrique.
Nous espérons que vous trouverez le rapport utile pour votre travail et s’il vous plaît partager au sein de vos réseaux. Le lien vers le rapport est:

Maladie à virus Ebola et fragmentation des forêts en Afrique


PayPal donation page: now active

Dear visitors of the EFASL website,

We are happy to inform you, that our PayPal account is now set to receive payments automatically from this website.

You can donate the amount of your choice, by clicking in the button below:

Thanks a lot, in advance.
Tommy Garnett

Rural Energy Activating Livelihoods

Update on REAL Project

As on Monday 2nd March, EFA and partners FAO have taken the first steps towards formally restarting implementation of the REAL project. The project implementation was suspended in August 2014, due to the national medical emergency cause by the spread of the Ebola virus disease.

From 9th March, EFA and FAO staff will be visiting all of the project beneficiary communities in Kailahun, Kenema, Kono and Pujehun Districts, to re-establish contact with the various project management committees and assess the status of where electrical installations were already done, in preparation for the installation of solar equipment.

The visits / assessments are schedule to be completed by end of March, following which the installation of solar equipment will commence.
EFA and FAO are fully aware that Sierra Leone has not yet achieved the expected zero caseload of people infected by the Ebola virus, but remain confident that the preventive measures currently in place, will ensure safe movement of personnel in the field, as plans advance to relaunch the project full scale by early April 2015. 


Letter from the Boards of Trustees of EFA and the Management of EFA

   2nd March 2015.



Dear Supporters of EFA,

As you may be aware, impressive headway has been made recently in controlling the spread of the Ebola virus in the three most affected countries – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. While the epidemiological crisis is not over, and now is not the time for complacency, the worst appears to have passed and the three countries are in a good position to stamp out the virus within the coming months.

EFA’s Ebola Crisis Appeal raised about US$5000, which was used for emergency food supplies for communities surrounding the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, to encourage them not to turn to hunting, farming and mining of the Sanctuary for their immediate needs. This support was received with extreme gratitude. Knowing that EFA and its supporters were thinking of the communities and the Sanctuary’s staff was inspirational to them as they survived those dark months.

Looking broadly, notwithstanding the many thousands of deaths and social trauma caused by the Ebola virus, the challenge at hand is to prepare and execute plans for the countries to recover from the crisis. The effects of the crisis on the nations’ economies, food security and social fabric have been profound. Private sector activity has dramatically decreased with some major companies declaring bankruptcy and many more curtailing operations. Food production in the last year was limited, in particular in Sierra Leone, because of the restrictions on mobility, curfews and difficulty in obtaining agricultural inputs. The deficiencies in the national health care systems of the three countries became painfully clear, as did the difficulties in coordinating and delivering international support for the Ebola response.

National governments, aid agencies, development banks, international and national NGOs and other partners are busy planning post-Ebola recovery. While their focus is understandably on stimulating immediate, short-term growth, and on preparing to contain the next epidemic rapidly, EFA believes that the crisis provides perspective on how to pursue economic development differently. If we return to business-as-usual, should we expect anything other than more-of-the-same?

EFA’s perspective is different: we believe that the Ebola virus crisis is a symptom of a development model that needs critical reconsideration. This model of economic development requires never-ending growth in production and consumption to lift the target countries out of poverty. While ending poverty is a lofty objective and undeniably good, the means proposed to achieve it in countries like Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are mainly to continue expanding production of raw materials like raw ores and other minerals, timber, palm oil and rubber. These are usually produced in the rural, forested ‘frontier’ areas of the countries, causing deforestation or forest fragmentation. In such contexts, humans and wildlife more frequently come into contact.

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a zoonotic disease, transmitted from wildlife to humans. Many diseases affecting humans today were transmitted from a wildlife reservoir, a species in which it has little or no deleterious effect but is nevertheless transmitted from generation to generation. However when it jumps from the host animal to humans, for example when a person comes into contact with bodily fluids or aerosol particles from an infected animal, the disease can be lethal.

A development model that promotes bringing people into contact with forest-dwelling, or forest-edge-dwelling wildlife, is like playing Russian roulette: every time another chance for zoonosis – transmission of a disease from an animal to humans – occurs, the revolver’s trigger is pulled again.

EFA calls on the Governments and all development partners in Sierra Leone and West Africa, as they plan post-Ebola recovery, to integrate natural resources management fully into development plans and economic activities, whether for small-scale local production, industrial production, infrastructure development, or anything else. Development options need to be appraised in terms of what impact they could have on increasing the risk of zoonosis. Impacts on ‘natural capital depreciation’ need to be evaluated, that is, does an activity reduce a country’s natural resources which produce valuable but frequently ‘unvalued’ good and services like watershed protection, soil protection and regeneration, medicines, foods/food security, carbon storage and more?  Some projects may appear to deliver solid returns in terms of revenues or jobs generated, but if they involve the loss or fragmentation of ecosystems and wildlife habitat, they may in fact be quite destructive of natural capital, undermine ecosystem services and increase risks like zoonosis. In that light they do not look so attractive.

EFA has partnered with the ERM Foundation of Environmental Resources Management Ltd. to research the links between deforestation/forest fragmentation in West Africa and zoonotic episodes. This will form the basis of an awareness campaign to be undertaken starting in late March and the second trimester of 2015, targeting the planning and execution of economic recovery for EVD-affected countries.

While the needs of communities surrounding Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, and other forest-edge communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, remain great and urgent, economic recovery takes time and depends on many actors. EFA will do its best to assist the communities where it operates with both humanitarian aid and development assistance in the coming year.  However EFA’s most strategic way to support Tiwai Island, and the wider national and regional contexts, will be to lobby that the recovery and development plans adopted for post-EVD recovery do not repeat the unintended consequences that contributed to the spread of the disease and many other zoonotic crises.

On behalf of the Boards of Trustees of EFA and of the Management of EFA, we wish to thank all of those who have supported us through these difficult times, and ask that you continue your support as we embark on our new, strategic campaign.  Thanks to the ERM Foundation, the costs will not be large:  travel and subsistence costs for EFA personnel conducting workshops, education and outreach, media and small-scale publishing costs, and other miscellanea.  Please continue to help EFA generously!

Jamison Suter


Boards of Trustees, EFA UK and Ireland


Tommy Garnett

Director of Regional Programmes

EFA Sierra Leone


Biodiversity Learning Centre,News

Holiday Greetings and a Thank You!

Dear Friends and Colleagues

It is that time of the year when we wind down from our busy work and travel schedules and prepare to join our friends and families to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. It is also that time when we reflect on the happenings and lessons of the past year, and think about its challenges and opportunities, and prepare to welcome another year. 2014 will forever be memorable in the hearts and minds of the people of West Africa, for reasons that we know only too well.

For EFA, it has been a year of mixed blessings. We made very good progress completing a number of multi-year projects, such as the construction of Biodiversity and Renewable Energy Learning Centre, formally opened in June. It is also the first time since 2001, when we started work with the people of  Tiwai Island, that there will be no visitors to the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. All tourism activities on the Island were suspended in July, following the declaration of a national medical emergency by the President of Sierra Leone, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, resulting from the spread of the Ebola virus disease. Since then, the most pressing issue for EFA and its many friends around the world has been how to respond to the immediate needs of EVD-affected, quarantined communities.

Thanks to the generous contributions of time and money by many from across the globe, EFA was able to demonstrate to our staff on-the-ground and the nearly four thousand people around the Tiwai Island, that we care about their welfare. We are profoundly grateful for your continued support, which has given us much needed inspiration and courage during very trying times in West Africa where thousands have died, especially in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The livelihoods, economies and local traditions of the people of these countries have been adversely impacted in so many ways. We convey our deepest sympathies to all those who have lost, and continue to lose family members to the disease. We sincerely hope that the efforts of the affected countries’ governments and their international partners will ensure the Ebola virus is brought under control in the very near future. We stand ready to return to work as soon as it is safe to do so, using EFA’s existing and future projects and resources to rebuild the livelihoods and protect the natural resources of communities affected by the disease. We shall keep you all informed.

For now, we wish you all good health and very safe and travels during this holiday period.
Peace and Blessings to you all.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
From Tommy Garnett and the EFA Family