Programme Impacts Over 10,000 People Within River Kampe National Park
Over 10,000 people in grassroot communities within the River Kampe National Park, Kwara State are being impacted by the capacity building programme of locals on nature based solutions aimed at building their resilience to impacts of climate change. This was made possible through a partnership between the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Canadian High Commission’s Fund for Local Initiatives.
As part of the project activities, 50 women and youths were trained on Biochar production , which entails generation of eco-friendly fuel for cooking using wastes from rice.
The Head of Communications, NCF, Mr. Oladapo Soneye stated that participants in the biochar training were also organised into community biochar women “cooperative group where they will have access to funding to set up the biochar enterprise in the beneficiary communities.
Giving an overview of the initiative, Mr. Soneye explained that
“The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), in partnership with the Canadian High Commission’s Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, has embarked on activities to tackle climate change in the grassroot communities of River Kampe National Park, Kwara State.
“The objectives of the project are building resilience for vulnerable 3 support zone communities to the impact of climate change through nature-based solutions; empowering 3 support zone communities especially women on alternative energy source through the production of Biochar/Briquette from agriculture waste; Developing a Nature-based Recovery Action Plan for River Kampe National Park towards restoring its over 65,000 hectares of forest landscape through a community-led approach.
“The training covered production, packaging, use, and marketing of briquette and contributes in these 3 key areas:- Energy security by developing alternative and sustainable energy source for the communities, thereby dissuading them from cutting down trees for firewood; Climate change mitigation from reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases; Economic development with the improvement of livelihoods of over 10,000 inhabitants of these rural areas especially women and youth through fruits and biochar enterprise.
“Participants in this biochar training were also organized into community biochar women cooperative group where they will have access to seed funding to set up the biochar enterprise in the beneficiary communities – Agboro, Latayi, and Koro in Pategi Local Government Area of Kwara State.
“Earlier in January, NCF kicked-off the Nature-based recovery and climate resilience project around River Kampe Forest Reserve with a community need and attitude assessment as well as the establishment of Site Support Groups in the 3 communities. This resulted into understanding the need of the community around household energy, unemployment, knowledge gap in biodiversity monitoring which informed the design and implementation of the project”, Soneye explained.
Additional , he said the foundation has established three native and economic tree nursery across the three target communities with the planting of locust beans and cashew tree seeds.
Soneye stated that with that ,the goal of NCF to raise “15,000 native economic seeds have been achieved, while the communities will lead the planting of these seedlings by the onset of raining season in April across their agrological landscapes.
“In the long term, NCF will be increasing the number of seedlings raised to about one million seedlings over the next two years. These fruit trees would provide long term healthy nutrition, economic and environmental support for these communities to address biodiversity loss and climate change.
“On the Key Biodiversity Area training conducted, NCF organized a capacity building workshop on wildlife monitoring, data collection, recording, and reporting for 30 forest officers and youth selected from these communities who will become Site Support Groups. This Site Support Group in addition to job employment will help the Kwara State Ministry of Environment close the biodiversity data gap already identified in River Kampe and be able to plan for its long-term conservation action.
“River Kampe Forest Reserve is a forest reserve located at Pategi, Kwara State. Despite the Federal Government’s intervention to upgrade River Kampe Forest Reserve (RKFR) to a National Park, there remains unsustainable practice within the 3 Support Zone Communities. The Forest Reserve, important for safe drinking water to over 1 million people in the area, supports irrigation for crop and livestock farming, but lacks sustainable management practice. Threats of unlawful timber exploitation in buffer zones of the Forest Reserve, wildlife poaching, and production of charcoal by merchants persist. These communities do not benefit much from these forest resources with high levels of unemployment among women and youth and continuous exposure to the impacts of drought and desertification on food security.
“These challenges and others necessitated NCF and its partner to develop a strategic project that can directly impact the lives of the host communities’ members.
However, in collaboration with the Kwara State Ministry of Environment, NCF is organizing a Stakeholders Workshop to commemorate the International Day of Forest on 23rd March 2022 in Ilorin, Kwara State” he added.