By Ibrahim Tarawallie
With support from the European Union, Concern Worldwide last Thursday commenced the implementation of a project geared towards breaking new grounds in rodents’ biology and management.
The Sustainable Technology to Overcome Pest Rodents in Africa Through Science, StopRats, project will be implemented in partnership with universities from Namibia, Madagascar, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom as the lead partner, for the next three years, to contribute to African sustainability development by enabling institutions to address key indicators of poverty through the impact of rodents on agricultural production systems and food security.
Speaking during the launch at the Grassroots Gender Empowerment Movement Hall on John Street in Freetown, Concern Country Director, Fiona Mclysaght, explained that the genesis of their involvement in the project came via their connection with the National Resource Institute of the University of Greenwich.
She noted that the project is directly linked with their objective of helping people living in extreme poverty to achieve major improvements in their lives, adding, “The project will also contribute to our goal by protecting assets and the return on their crops.”
“This project gives us an opportunity to link up researchers, students and practitioners in Sierra Leone with a global network, giving them the chance to travel to other countries to see how they are tackling the issue of safe capturing of rodents,” she stated.
Also speaking, Concern Worldwide Food, Income and Marketing Coordinator, Ruth Davies-Kpundeh, maintained that the project will be research-based, in that it will collect information on rodents’ infestation, which affects food security and crop production.
She revealed that the project has four components: to develop an African appropriate response for rodents’ pest management problems; establish a multi-stakeholder group to facilitate activities relating to rodents’ research: organise StopRats trainings and awareness raising programme for the African, Caribbean and Pacific, ACP, regions; and carry out project management monitoring and evaluation.