El Mecanismo para la Restauración de Bosques y Paisajes

Building capacity, knowledge and networks for forest and landscape restoration in Western and Central Africa

Year published: 20/04/2022

Twenty-five young African professionals recently completed a seven-week journey in building capacity, knowledge and networks for forest and landscape restoration in Western and Central Africa. Selected from over 1200 hopeful applicants, the 25 individuals took part in an online course offered through a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Yale School of the Environment’s Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (YSE-ELTI).

The course explored several key aspects of understanding and planning restoration initiatives, including forest ecology, degradation drivers, sociocultural and political considerations, restoration techniques, agroforestry, project monitoring and restoration finance. Through educational content, online forums and live exchanges with experts, the participants explored a range of themes, while sharing their own expertise and experiences with others.

The participants applied their knowledge to develop a “final project” focused on their own real-life restoration initiatives. Each week, they developed a different component of their project linked to the current module theme. As a result, they completed the course with a project document outlining their project’s ecological and social context, appropriate restoration strategies, a monitoring plan and financing options for their initiative.

Participant Clarisse Djao Mein’a, for example, developed her project on the Guinean savannahs of Ngaoundéré in Adamaoua Region, Cameroon. Her project aimed to restore savannah ecosystems, diversify smallholder incomes and contribute to climate change mitigation. In her project document, Clarisse identified four management areas, each with their own set of activities to achieve project goals. Clarisse’s project also outlined an associated monitoring framework and potential funding options to move her initiative forward.

The potential applications of these young professionals’ knowledge, skills and restoration careers are numerous. As shared by one individual: 

"On this course, I gained a lot of knowledge on restoration, project financing and cultivation practices, as well as many useful details mentioned during our live exchanges. I now have solid skills in drafting a restoration project, self-learning and effective use of online tools. Taking this course allowed me to understand that landscape restoration is not only related to reforestation, but it is a whole social, economic, ecological and cultural process".

By focusing this opportunity on professionals in the early stages of their careers, the course aims to serve as a launch point for them to pursue further learning, networking and career development to become leaders in restoration across Africa.

In addition to the course benefits for all participants, FAO is offering a special prize to the top performer in the course. The winner, Pierrot Aluma Gbenge from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will receive paid attendance to the upcoming XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul.

For more information, please contact [email protected].

 Karin Bucht (Yale School of the Environment)