The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has opened a satellite office in Sierra Leone to serve as one of the implementing sites for a new project called BIODEV: Building Biocarbon and Rural Development in West Africa.
The four-year BIODEV project is financed by Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and spans Guinea, Mali and Sierra Leone. It will demonstrate the multiple benefits—developmental and environmental—that accrue from building biological or natural carbon, i.e. high-value biocarbon development.
ICRAF is the project’s lead implementing partner, and is working with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), University of Helsinki, University of Eastern Finland, and national institutions in the three project countries. Improved forestry management, agroforestry, nutrition, income generation and health are among the project’s foci. The plan is to use the knowledge generated to scale up the high-value biocarbon approach to additional countries in the West and Central Africa (WCA) region.
On 20 February 2013, the ICRAF-WCA regional coordinator Dr Zac Tchoundjeu presented the new ICRAF-Sierra Leone country director, Dr Ebenezar Asaah, to Sierra Leone’s Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, the Hon. Dr Joseph Sam Sesay. Dr Asaah, a national of Cameroon, is a tree scientist with over 18 years of research and managerial experience in the region.
The new office in Sierra Leone brings to five the Centre’s country offices in the WCA Region. Already with a staff complement of four, the new office is expected to be fully operational by April 2013, and will work with the ICRAF-Sahel Node in Mali and the Centre’s WCA regional office based in Cameroon to implement BIODEV.