In 2007 EFA launched the one-year “Fuelwood project for youth empowerment and sustainable management of the western area environment” funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)through the Ministry of Youth and Sport secretariat(MYS). The project is aimed at supporting the conservation and protection of the Western Area Peninsula Forest through youth engagement in the promotion of viable alternative and sustainable economic opportunities. This project was simultaneously implemented by 10 other NGO’s in 10 different communities within the Western Area Environment. EFA was one of the implementing partners attached to the Sussex community. The participating communities were selected based on heir high level of environmental degradation and track record of enthusiastic youth participation in development activities.
The project targeted youth groups that are mostly without gainful employment, that are insensitive to the level of degradation of the Western Area Peninsula Environment and forest (WAPF) and who depend on the forest as their main source of livelihood.
EFA managed to establish a project management committee and one youth group consisting of 50 members both male and female. These youth were sensitized, trained and mobilized on relevant environmental intervention mechanisms and income generating activities (3 income generating activities were established). Furthermore, the youth were trained in nursery establishment and compost making and refresher training was conducted on out-planting of forest trees and maintenance. During the project 5 acres of degraded forest land was planted with exotic species.
Part of the project was to raise awareness about attitudinal and behavioral change, gender and human rights issues, HIV/AIDS, peace and development and drug abuse.
Due to the project there was a positive change in the attitude of people towards the environment. Also, the setting up of a formalized youth group has made it easier for work to be coordinated in the community.
EFA has been asked by the Youth employment secretariat (YES), in the MYS, to present a concept note which forms the basis for developing a follow-up project to the Fuel wood project. Work is in progress.