The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded approximately $5 million to a team of institutions, including WCW, for the implementation of a program entitled Higher Education Conservation Activity (HECA) in the Republic of Liberia. The timing of the project comes at a tipping point for Liberia’s forests, which account for roughly half of the remaining rainforests in West Africa. Over many years, forests have been degraded by unsustainable forestry practices, land conversion, and other pressures.
HECA aims to strengthen forest management and conservation in Liberia through education, training, and technical assistance. Led by the University of Georgia and in collaboration with Alabama A&M University, Tuskegee University, the University Consortium for Liberia in the United States, the University of Liberia, and the Forestry Training Institute in Liberia, the team will establish a Center of Excellence in Forestry, Biodiversity, Conservation, and Green Enterprise Development.
As a vital part of the program’s mission, WCW will lead the design of a social inclusion strategy to empower women and young people in the Liberian forestry sector. This strategy will also benefit people with disabilities, crisis- and conflict-affected individuals, first-generation post-secondary students, people from minority religious communities, and rural, forest-dwelling, and forest-dependent people.
"HECA is built on the premise that sustainable development must be inclusive development,” said WCW Executive Director Layli Maparyan, Ph.D. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to advance environmental and social equality goals at the same time, in creative and synergistic ways."
These activities collectively strive to create a thriving forestry workforce with the knowledge to conserve Liberian natural resources while making significant advances in social inclusion.
Read Layli's Blog About this Work
February 21, 2023