Community Conservation

TCS_Projects_records
Map_TCOP_projects_2016-2017

Founded in 2011 to address conservation outside of protected areas, the Tacugama Community Outreach Programme (TCOP) works with rural communities towards achieving sustainable natural resource management and wildlife conservation. It is absolutely necessary to support these key stakeholders if we are going to succeed at stopping the loss of biodiversity.

TCOP targets communities living in close proximity to known chimpanzee populations. Currently the TCOP team works in 42 rural communities in 2 districts of Sierra Leone (Moyamba and Pujehun) and also in Freetown. The goal is to achieve sustainable management of natural resources, promote the cultivation of alternative non-vulnerable crops and sensitize people to the need for a respectful coexistence with chimpanzees. Using a multifaceted approach, the program aims to conserve wildlife species and their habitat, while simultaneously meeting the livelihood needs and development of local human communities.

TCOP distributes seed supplies to assist local communities in engaging in sustainable agriculture practices and community food production. One example is the supply of swamp rice, an alternative to the upland rice variety which often requires forest areas to be cleared in order to plant. The rice also serves to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, because rice is not susceptible to crop raiding by wildlife.

Communities are supported by Tacugama in the implementation of alternative livelihoods programs -including fruit tree planting, livestock farms, community woodlots, inland valley swamp rice production and groundnuts. This is a consultative approach towards identifying deforestation mitigation and wildlife protection projects with the community. Communities design projects that address their main conservation threat. These are varying among communities, but the most common threat is deforestation due to slash and burn agriculture.

The goal of these programs is to eliminate the need for dependency on bushmeat hunting and deforestation, and to provide the communities with sustainable sources of income which result in local autonomy and poverty alleviation.

In an aim to improve health & hygiene in rural communities, and minimize bush defecation, latrines are often constructed. This significantly decreases the risk of disease transmission amongst both humans and wildlife. We also work to provide infrastructure for any livelihoods programs that are implemented in these communities.

IMGP4566.TCS_goat_project_in_Lawana village (1)

TCOP facilitates workshops and implements poster campaigns in all target communities. We aim to increase knowledge and awareness of chimpanzees as an endangered species protected by the law, and emphasize why they and their habitat should be protected. Chimpanzees are used as an umbrella species to underscore the importance of protecting ecosystems, including endangered species such as the tree pangolin, West African manatee and Timneh African Grey parrot.

Workshops also look into practical issues and provide guidance on local practices such as: sustainable charcoal burning, firewood collection and sustainable agricultural practices like mixed crop farming.

At a national level, TCOP creates awareness through the main media channels in Sierra Leone to promote these conservation values.