The City Government of Monrovia is continuing its climate change mitigation efforts through the Monrovia Grow Green project by beginning the planting of 20,000 trees across selected communities in Monrovia particularly the Borough of New Kru Town and the Township of West Point. The project is being supported by the Mayors Migration Council through the Global Cities Fund.
At the start of the trees planting exercise on Saturday, May 6, 2023, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee said the two communities were selected based on their vulnerability to sea erosion and flooding given their proximity to the ocean and other major rivers like the Mesurado and St. Paul rivers.
Mayor Koijee added that the communities face higher risks of extinction evident by the fact that a significant number of homes have been taken away by sea erosion to make thousands of families displaced.
“This is one of our first major community projects. It was made possible through stiff competition that saw many cities presenting their best ideas to get donors’ support and Monrovia among ten (10) other cities to get the grant,” he narrated.
He stated that communities in Monrovia are being taken away by sea erosion and New Kru Town and West Point are the hardest hits. This, according to him, has affected the lives of residents of these coastal communities and brought untold suffering resulting from internal displacement of families.
The Monrovia City Mayor added that this is why donors through the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) took the decision support intervention efforts of the City Government of Monrovia to mitigate climate crisis in the city especially in vulnerable areas.
He disclosed that a Liberian company: Shade Liberia that is working across Liberia for many years to help combat climate change was hired to lead the trees planting and management exercise.
“This is just the start of a bigger effort. We will all celebrate the aftermath of ensuring that these trees are protected and the project is successful. I am optimistic that the locals will cooperate with their leaders and take ownership to protect the trees because they are lifesavers. Those who think the trees will be stolen are naysayers,” Mayor Koijee indicated.
Mayor Koijee charged residents of the communities with the responsibility to work with the local community leaders to protect the tree. He reminded the residents that 150 persons in two categories: from age 18 to 35years old and 36years old and above are already benefiting vocational training and business grants as part of the City Government’s effort to help restore lives and families displaced and economically deprived by climate change related circumstances including sea erosion and flooding.
He disclosed that the City Government of Monrovia has set a target of planting one million trees since they are pivotal in the fight against climate change.
For his part, the Field and Safeguard Officer of the project, Mr. Fayiah Yonda said that the project employed the right standards to ensure that the right people, who are actual victims, benefit, as demonstrated by the due diligence mechanism carried out by the project team after the selection of internally displaced persons was done in collaboration with the community leaders.
He stressed that Mayor Jefferson Koijee’s commitment to empower women aligned with the project’s objectives to recruit more women and young people, who are considered more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate and pandemic-related circumstances.
According to Yonda, the skills training and business stimulus aspects of the projects has taken off with utmost seriousness and periodic follow-ups so that those who receive the opportunities can help themselves.
“We don’t want you to mismanage the money that has been given for business.” So, we trained you on how to manage business funds. We are doing follow-ups to ensure that you are actually doing the business the project empowers you to do. The same is true for skill training for young people under the age of 35.”We have identified the schools and made sure those selected are attending and their fees and transportation allowance have been given to them to facilitate their learning” he emphasized.
In remarks, the Governor of the Borough of New Kru, Moses Weah committed to ensure that the trees will be protected to the fullest because his office will assign security to provide protection. He warned that those harboring negative intentions to rethink because the community residents will spare no effort in bringing to bed the full weight of the law against anyone caught vandalizing this lifesaving initiative.
The Commissioner of the Township of West Point, William C. Wea lauded the Mayors Migration Council through whom the support for the project was made possible. He stressed that the Township of West Point will work tooth and nail to protect the trees because the efforts of climate change on the township are devastating and many families are wandering for help but the resources available for the project cannot cater to everyone at this time.
Shade Liberia CEO, Tarnue Dorbor pointed out that the coastline of New Kru Town had mangroves but they were destroyed stressing that this is why the sea took advantage to wreck havoc on the communities because mangroves are natural coastal defense ecosystem that can resist sea erosion and flooding.
“When there is a lot of rains, the sea has a way of getting rid of excess water and the surrounding areas would be vicitms. It is the mangroves that can prevent that from happening because they can absorb the excess waters and provide habitats for marine species.
He intoned that the company under the project will plant 8,500 mangroves trees, 9,000 coconut trees and 2,500 flower trees to mark the natural coastal defense ecosystem and green corridors to make Monrovia green clean and safe.
The Monrovia Grow Green (MonGrow Green) Project aims to address climate change related crisis including flooding and sea erosion. The project also seeks to transform Monrovia into a safer, cleaner, greener and a more inclusive city through participatory Climate Change mitigation and adaptation interventions.
In implementing the project, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) is working with migrants and displaced communities to plant twenty thousand (20,000) mangrove and coconut trees to establish green corridors along the former Somalia Drive, now Japanese Freeway; West Point and New Kru Town coast lines and along the Mesurado River. These trees will serve four main purposes: balance the soil, provide a green and shady environment for residents, absorb excess soil/ground water, and absorb carbon emissions emitted by human activities.
Most importantly, the project aims to provide livelihood to climate migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and provide public awareness and sensitization on climate mitigation and adaptation mechanisms. The project shall directly impact 150 climate migrants and IDPs between the ages 18 to 35 years and the second group will be 36yrs and above comprising only women through livelihood training business support.
The MonGrow Green projected is supported by the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) through the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees – the MMC’s response to the unmet needs of cities as they support migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the face of pressing challenges, from global pandemics to the climate crisis.
By directly funding cities to implement inclusive programs of their own design, the GCF builds precedents of fiscal feasibility in city governments that are often disregarded by donors with low risk tolerance.