21 May 2012

Liberia: Community Energy Efficient Stove Project Launched

Program marking the official launch of the Community Energy Efficient Stove Project (CEESP) took place on Saturday, May 19, 2012 in 72nd Paynesville, outside Monrovia. The official launch of CEESP was carried out by the Center for Disaster Risk and Environmental Advocacy, Management and Research(CDREAM) and graced by several dignitaries, including Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Operations, Ranny B. Jackson among others.

CEESP is a pilot project undertaken by CDREAM in response to the call for environmental safety and the reduction of threats posed by community action against Liberia forest land.

According to the overview, CDREAM was established in October 2010 with a mandate of working with local communities for environmental improvement and disaster risk reduction for sustainable development in Liberia as well as advocacy, management and research, and building institutional and human resource capacities.

CDREAM is currently training over 35 members from the Soul Clinic and 72nd Communities as under CEESP initiatives.

It is evident that cook stoves are the most common way of cooking and heating food in developing countries. Research shows that developing countries consume little energy compared to developed nations; however, over 50% of the energy that they do use goes into cooking food. The average rural family spends 20% or more of its income purchasing wood or charcoal for cooking. Living in the city provides no refuge either as the urban poor frequently spend a significant portion of their income on the purchase of wood or charcoal.

Officially launching the CEESP, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Operations, Mr. Jackson thanked CDREAM for its initiative as well as the UNDP for providing support in assisting CDREAM to launch the CEESP.

Mr. Jackson, who wished that this dream becomes a reality, stated that "disaster risk management" is everybody's business.

According to him, it is not an activity or area left only to the Government or Business Firm or any other, noting it is a common business for all of us.

"Everybody's participation and contribution is crucial to reduce the impact disaster risk on vulnerable areas and communities," Mr. Jackson stated.

"Though the country has explicit policy to protecting and controlling natural resources such as forest, the awareness of communities is still very limited and misuse of this resource is increasing at alarming rate," the Internal Affairs Ministry official pointed out.

"On the other hand, the development process to any country does not necessarily reduce vulnerability to manmade natural hazards. Instead, it can unintentionally create new forms of vulnerability or exacerbate existing ones. Therefore, I will also advise the organizers of this project to consider the positive and negative consequences and in a way involve communities' and organize mass sensitization programs to bring behavioral change in reducing vulnerabilities of people to disaster risk result of natural resource-depletion," the Internal Affairs Ministry official further pointed out.

Speaking further, the former Bong County superintendent disclosed that the depletion of forest is a big threat to the country.

"If we continue to misuse and damage forest at the level of the current pace, the disaster risk will accelerate rapidly, ecosystem will decline at faster rate and finally affect large number of people," he cautiously warned.

Against this backdrop, he wished such initiative can be strengthened and supported by a strong policy and institutional development.

"I am sure that while implementing this project at community level, the organizers will face a lot of challenges. At this instance, I will advise organizers to use challenges as a lesson to move forward and in achieving the vision of CDREAM to implement CEESP successfully," the deputy minister for operations at the Internal Affairs Ministry indicated.

He said the safe use of this technology at community level will have a great impact in reducing the damage and misuse of forest resources.

He assured CDREAM that the government will stand by it and will support its initiative, vision and dream while implementing CEESP.

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