The Ministry of Internal Affairs David Panda Noah on 17thDecember 2021 launched the UN Peacebuilding Fund cross-border project to be implemented in Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The project is funded by the UN Secretary General’s Peacekeeping Fund and aims at bridging the division between cattle herders and farmers in the sister countries through conflict prevention mechanisms. The event took place at the conference hall of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Gloucester street in Freetown.
The project will be co-implemented for 24 monthsby World Food Programme (WFP), International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Talking Drums Studioin the Falaba District on the Sierra Leonean side and Faranah prefecture in Guinea.These two districts on either side have one of the largest concentration of cattle ranges and report of conflict between the herders and crop farmers have been evident. This was the reason the UN initiated the project to build cross-border peace and strengthen sustainable livelihoods of cattle herders and crop farmers in the two countries. The UN Agencies and Government partners will work with their counterparts in Guinea, as well as with civil society entities, communities, and local governments on both sides of the border to resolve long-standing conflicts, compounded by climate change, between cattle herders and farmers along Sierra Leone’s northern border with Guinea.
Speaking at the ceremony, WFP’s Representative and Country Director, Steve Nsubuga said the UN Peacebuilding cross-border project intends to provide concrete support to address issues of potential destabilization in the border areas of Falaba District in Sierra Leone and Faranah prefecture in Guinea.
“Livelihoods are a pathway to peace and stability and an environment where communities co-exist and collaborate to build assets and social cohesion. And we have seen it elsewhere in Sierra Leone that the rewards are greater when women and youths are placed at the centre, which is what we will do,” said Steve.
With increasing numbers of cattle herders migrating from Guinea into Sierra Leone, the conflicts, if left unaddressed, could escalate, and destabilize both countries. The project addresses a critical gap on cross-border peacebuilding between the cattle herders and farmers in this zone.
“Climate change has altered traditional movement patterns and increased transhumance migration as cattle herders and farmers look for more cultivable land via different routes, further increasing inter-communal tensions. IOM will work with the authorities to better understand these routes and collect relevant disaggregated data can be used for the development evidence-based policies that aim to reduce tension and sustain peace,” said James Bagonza, Head of Mission, IOM Sierra Leone.
The Internal Affairs Minister, David Panda Noah said that he was of the firm conviction that the implementation of the project, communities in Falaba and Faranah in both countries will benefit from improved cross-border relations and promote peaceful co-existence between cattle herders and crop farmers through climate-smart livelihoods.
The project will support1,000 smallholder households to reclaim inland valley swamps and build irrigation schemes for higher crop yields and continuous food production.
Also, some 300 herder households in Sierra Leone and Guinea will benefit from access to solar water points and improved species of grass to graze their cattle.
Some 60 chiefdom/transhumance officials and 140 community members will be trained and equipped in managing, mitigating, and resolving conflicts. (A far greater number of people will be reached through radio broadcasts that will inform communities on the Cattle Settlement Policy to reduce risk of conflicts).