Environmental Foundation for Africa
|Founded||1992, United Kingdom|
|Headquarters||Lakka, Freetown Peninsula, Sierra Leone|
For over 15 years, EFA has led environmental education and awareness raising campaigns, restored degraded lands and conserved pristine forests, minimized the impacts of civil war on the environment and its inhabitants, and equipped thousands of people with sustainable livelihood skills such as agroforestry. Today EFA specialises is environmental awareness raising and capacity building at the national, regional and international levels using high impact communications tools and training programs to build an environmentally conscious society motivated to maintain the integrity of nature in Africa.
EFA was founded in United Kingdom 1992 as the Environmental Foundation for Sierra Leone (ENFOSAL) and started implementation in Sierra Leone 1993. During the height of the war years, the organisation was established in Liberia under the current name Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) and has since 1999 restarted operations in Sierra Leone. EFA Sierra Leone (EFA-SL) is operating as the local partner to the international NGO EFA.
EFA's mission is to restore and protect the environment. It operates primarily through environmental education and awareness raising, building up communities' and institutions' appreciation and understanding of environmental management and the impacts of environmental damage on lives and livelihoods.
EFA facilities community-led programmes for environmental restoration, conservation and sustainable livelihoods and provides training and support in sustainable agriculture and forest management, agro-forestry, energy conservation, sustainable income generation including eco-tourism, and rehabilitation of degraded natural resources.
- Raising awareness of environmental issues in all sectors of the populations in the West African region;
- Working with other partners in the re-integration of returnee communities to minimise the negative environmental impacts of reconstruction and other recovery projects;
- Promoting sustainable livelihoods for environmental protection and conservation through community-based initiatives, such as eco-tourism;
- Providing technical assistance and advice on environmental issues in efforts to mainstream environmental interventions into all humanitarian and development work;
- Consolidating its operations in Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone while advocating for a regional approach in addressing environmental problems in West Africa.
Environmental Awareness Raising
EFA raises awareness about the environment amongst communities, working with them to identify the environmental problems affecting their lives and livelihoods, and what they can do to conserve their natural resources for their future well-being.
- Public events on a national scale. EFA organises public video shows, presentations and open days to spread information among the wider community on environmental issues and problems in their own surroundings. The approach is one of many, intended to encourage a more environmentally sound and sustainable way of living.
- Environmental Education in schools. EFA encourages schools and teachers to include environmental education in their extra-cirrucular teaching programme. EFA organises training for teachers and provides materials and books to enhance their capacity in the subject. EFA also facilitates the formation of environmental clubs in schools, conduct sessions when required and provide support for activities such as tree nursery establishment and school clean-ups.
- Community Actions. In the believe that sustainable development is only possible with full participation of all stakeholders, EFA works with communities to form environmental action groups and encourage the development of action plans for the environment.
EFA establishes community-led programmes for environmental protection and rehabilitation, providing training and practical assistance to enable communities to protect and repair their local environment and build sustainable livelihoods.
- Environmental Impact Assessment. EFA conducts environmental impact assessments to ensure the sound implementation of relief and development projects while providing valuable advice on sustainable management of the natural resources.
- Reforestation and agroforestry. EFA facilitates training in the areas of forestry for reforestation, establishment of woodlots and plantations. EFA also provides technical advice in agroforestry and sound farming practices.
- Domestic energy conservation. EFA promotes the use of energy efficient cooking methods including the use of fuel efficient stoves. EFA also conducts training workshops to develop skills in manufacturing Eco-stoves.
Advocacy & Networking
EFA raises awareness about the effect various operations have on the environment, including training and advocacy among institutions, government and businesses working in relief, development and reconstruction.
- Advocating for the Protection of Nature. EFA advocates for the protection of nature from community level to that of the Head of State. EFA works towards raising awareness among policy and decision makers about environmental issues and the impact economic and development activities have on the environment.
- Environmental Connections. EFA is linked to an extensive network of local and international agencies having a special interest in the environment. EFA supports in the best possible ways other agencies’ work in Sierra Leone and shares gathered information and experiences.
- Environmental Forum for Action in Sierra Leone. EFA has been promoting the formation of ENFORAC, an Environmental Forum consisting of all agencies and institutions working or involved with the environment in Sierra Leone.
EFA is active in the following countries:
- Sierra Leone - EFA works through the Environmental Forum for Action (ENFORAC) at the national policy level in Sierra Leone. The organization also manages two field sites – a nature preserve within the Western Area Peninsula Forest close to the capital, Freetown and Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary situated on the Moa River in southeastern Sierra Leone.
- Liberia - Active in Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, and Nimba counties, EFA conducts environmental education and livelihood training in tree nursery management, agroforestry, and domestic energy conservation with an emphasis on war-affected populations. EFA is a member of the Alliance for Conservation in Liberia which aims to protect the key species and ecosystems in Liberia by harmonizing activities among international and Liberian NGOs.
- Regional - EFA is a member of the Green Actors of West Africa (GAWA) network which brings together national environmental coalitions from across the region to draw attention to and provide solutions for environmental issues affecting West Africa. EFA hosts the secretariat and is the interim coordinating agency of the GAWA network.
- Ireland and United Kingdom - EFA Trustees support EFA by fundraising, providing strategic guidance on project development and institutional planning. EFA is conducting targeted advocacy and awareness campaigns in Europe.
- Management, Tourism and Research on Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary. After rebuilding the island’s tourism and research infrastructure and building community support for the Wildlife Sanctuary, EFA supports community development for the communities who own Tiwai Island.
- Regional Focal Point Initiative. The Netherlands Committee of IUCN (IUCN NL) works through EFA to improve the quality and impact of its small grants programme in West Africa. EFA provides in-region technical support to IUCN NL’s small grants unit and enhances synergy among grantees including boosting the voice of these NGOs. The GAWA network, an informal alliance of national environmental coalitions, benefits from training and networking opportunities supported by the Regional Focal Point Initiative.
- Socially and Environmentally Responsible Mining in Sierra Leone EFA coordinates a participatory analysis of social, environmental and economic variables related to large scale commercial rutile and bauxite mining activities in the Moyamba and Bonthe Districts of southwest Sierra Leone. The study includes local organizations, communities, mining company representatives and academia and draws attention to the wider landscape services the naturally vegetation provides and investigates rehabilitation schemes using locally provided native plants. The results of the study inform a longer term project to test novel and practical conservation strategies following mining operations beginning in November 2006 with support from the Darwin Initiative.
- Environmental Education and Capacity Building with Refugees and internally displaced peoples in Liberia. Mass migration, refugees and internally displaced peoples resulting from war puts pressure on environments that were hitherto supporting far fewer people and require environmental management to reduce the impacts on the environment which irreparably harm vital ecosystems and disadvantage already threatened populations that rely on them.
- Chairpersonship of the Environmental Forum for Action (ENFORAC). ENFORAC aims to bring about unity in action to influence policy, management, donor agendas and behaviour at a national level.
EFA manages a video production center, library and Internet café. Partners from across the region use these resources to create video documentaries and other products to advocate for environmental issues.
EFA is supported by:
- The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
- The Development Corporation Ireland
- The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
- IUCN NL
- Stichting Vluchteling - The Dutch Refugee Agency