VOSIEDA Launches Radio Platform -Targets Gbarpolu, Sinoe and Lofa

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The Volunteers to Support International Efforts in Developing Africa (VOSIEDA), a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization created in Liberia in 2001, has launched a radio platform co-named “The Forest Hour’.
Speaking at the launching ceremony held in Duazon on the Robertsfield Highway, the Advocacy Networking Communication Experts of VOSIEDA, Mr. Paul Kanneh, said the program “Forest Hour” is intended to raise the voices of communities at national level. He said that it is expected to ignite nationwide participation, dialogue on forest laws, policies, agreements and practices within the context of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
According to him, the radio talk-show will draw attention to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and other conditions agreed to in the Volunteer Partnership Agreement (VPA) that was signed between the European Union and the Liberian Government to discourage illegal logging and promote transparency and accountability.
Mr. Kanneh also noted that this is because the Forest Hour aims to provide alternative national platform to draw stakeholders’ attention to infractions in forested communities, it will be accessible to sector’s experts, legal practitioners, forest structures.
He also said this includes the National Union of Community Forest Development Committee (NUCFDC), National Union of Community Forest Management Body (NUCFMB), Networks, Coalitions and working groups.
He furthers that concern members of the community, relevant government institutions the forestry Development Authority (FDA) and other donors/international partners including the European Union (EU) and other companies. These institutions he said will be given the opportunity to discuss issues in relation to forest governance.
“The radio platform will also be used to discuss research/briefing papers produced by Independent Forest Monitors (IFM), including Global Witness and independent research reports. Particular attention will be paid to noncompliance to social agreements, payment of cubic meter fees, bad labor practices, environmental pollution, and illegalities among others,” Kanneh indicated.
He stressed that the radio program will be used as a strategic conduit for information dissemination on issues coming out of the forests. It will serve as a support based for the advocacy strategy recently launched by the NGO Coalition of Liberia.
“To achieve the desired objectives of the program, one of the most popular and award winning electronic media institutions has been selected to serve as host institution. The institution has also identified a renowned local talk-show host, with the ability to dig deeper into issues and to understand gaps and proffer solutions to problems using the media,” he pointed out.
He told the gathering that the show will last for an hour, and will be hosted once a week, preferably on Thursdays. The show will be relayed on three community radio stations in Gbarpolu, Sinoe and Lofa that are classified as project affected counties. “To ensure community voices are heard, five minutes will be allotted for updates from forest communities via mobile phone before the guest (s) on the show begins discussion”.
He expressed the believed that at the end of every discussion, the listening public will be allowed to call and participate to give their opinions on the topics selected for discussion.
“The show will begin with a brief jingle highlighting project objectives,” Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa”. There will be live video/voice recording of the show and each version will be downloaded on the EU-NSA Facebook Page” He said.
Mr. Kanneh disclosed that the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) 2017/2018 award winning radio station (OK FM) will be the implementing partner of the “Forest Hour” and the show will begin with a three month trial version, after which decision to continue or terminate the contract will be made, he concluded.
VOSIEDA over the past 16 years has established itself as an important platform for development in Liberia and West Africa. Its mission is to empower the disadvantage, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources.
It has worked in partnership to challenge poverty and inequality and has supported practical actions that enable people to improve their lives and shape their futures. We valued human dignity, community focus, integrity and partnership and work directly in Liberia and with partners in Guinea, Serra Leone and Cote D’Ivoire.

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