DART send volunteers to Sierra Leone
Four DART volunteers left Heathrow early this morning (14 February) for a two week training operation in Sierra Leone sponsored by Fletcher Stewart/Stein.
The DART team will be working alongside partners from Rory's Well, a Gloucestershire based charity that delivers water aid and a range of projects to tackle malnutrition and high infant mortality in 17 communities across the Pujehun district.
The region is rural, remote and poor even by Sierra Leone standards. Listed 177 out of 187 on the Human Development Index, approximately 80% of the population live below the poverty line of $2 a day. Economically, the country is still recovering from a decade of civil war that ended in 2002 and more recently, the devastating Ebola epidemic.
Since ratifying the Kyoto Protocol in 2006, the Government have taken steps to preserve and manage the country's vast forestry resources. Rainforests, mangroves and savannah forests cover an estimated 2.7m ha and host a wealth of endemic and internationally rare and threatened species. Supported by the UN REDD+ initiative, the Sierra Leone Government have established a number of internationally important forestry reserves and implemented various programmes to tackle illegal logging, including an outright ban on the export of unlicensed timber in 2008. Supported by the regional MP Senesi Fawundu, a government licensed operator has been appointed to provide the DART team with local advice and legal protection.
DART have undertaken to provide Arborist training, equipment, PPE and First Aid training that will help to build livelihoods linked to a programme of tree planting and sustainable forestry management in the region. The team also aim to deliver a Logosol chainsaw milling capability to support community construction projects with legally harvested and locally processed timber.
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