20/02/2017

Team are all well and in good spirits. The DART training program has been a great success and equipment and PPE provided by our sponsor Fletcher Stewart (Stockport) Limited gratefully received by the local community. Today our six Sierra Leone trainees (three of whom have some forestry experience and three complete beginners) have been helping to clear land earmarked for a community agricultural initiative and milling the timber Logosol UK as part of a vital bridge replacement project. The villagers have been busy excavating sand from a local river bank, our partner Charity have funded reinforcing steel, the local MP has funded the purchase of cement and DART trainees are providing milled timber for the concrete shuttering; a real partnership project!

14/02/2017

Four DART volunteers left Heathrow early this morning 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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