TCS had earlier this year donated building materials to the seven surrounding communities to construct the 12x13 centimeter community huts for recreation and other activities. The people themselves decided the location, design and size of their respective huts.
The communities were given a minimum of 10 days to design and construct the huts after which they were officially handed over to them and the seedlings that were earlier nursed by communities were planted as part of the reforestation campaign in communities surrounding the forest.
The Headmen/Women and other stakeholders in all the seven communities commended and appreciated the Family 4 Nature project implemented by Tacugama and pledged their commitment to take care of the seedlings and the huts for future generations but appealed for more support.
TCS was monitoring all the community nurseries prior to transplanting the seedlings.
In January this year, TCS together with Nature Club members nursed a total of 4,000 (four thousand) orange seedlings in six (6) communities living along the Western Area Peninsular Forest to complement a community-led afforestation exercise.
To support establishment of the nurseries, communities received two watering cans, shovels, hoes and head pans.
The aim of the project is to connect families to nature and encourage communities along the Western Area National Park to be more involved and interested in protecting wildlife, through the environment awareness-raising programs and engaging in environmental sanitation practices.
The project targets parents and their children (five families per community-husbands, wives and three children) per family head from each community.
The TCS Communications and Education Coordinator, Ethel Sillah, disclosed that the goal of the project is to equip families with adequate knowledge on environmental and wildlife protection as well as create a platform for families to contribute to the protection of the environment and value nature in their daily lives, adding that the community would produce the best seedlings and nursery site would receive an award.
Furthermore, the seven communities will replicate lessons learnt during their visits to the sanctuary in their respective communities by sensitizing neighbors and friends to protect wildlife and the environment, plant trees to prevent flooding and other environmental disasters and always clean their environment.
For 25 years, Tacugama has played a huge role in protecting one of Freetown’s major water catchment areas and last year in recognition of this success, the Sanctuary was awarded with ‘The Queen’s Canopy Award’ by the Commonwealth Secretariat. However, subsequent governments haven’t done or not doing enough to protect the sanctuary and the catchment area around it.
Tacugama is also rated as the Number One ecotourism destination for Sierra Leone and yet stakeholders cannot come together to protect the place.
The New Direction Government is talking a lot about promoting tourism by bringing new initiatives to boost it but needs to focus on how to safeguard the existing destination line, the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary that every Sierra Leonean and nature lovers are proud of.