FCC, donors discuss #FreetownTheTreeTown Project

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As the cutting of trees directly impacts water reserve catchment areas and increases flooding, and mudslides, FCC in 2020 launched the urban greening and tree planting project as key strategy to transform Freetown into a resilient, productive, and livable city.

The tree-planting initiative is supported with funds from partners including Bloomberg Philanthropies, the World Bank through the Resilient Urban Sierra Leone Project (RUSLP) and the Productive Social Safety Nets and Youth Employment Project (PSSNYE), and Catholic Relief Services.

Since the start of the project, with a target of 1 million trees to be planted, as of December 2023, a total of 977,000 trees have been planted and digitally tracked with a survival rate of 82%. This year, FCC aims to plant an additional 300,000 trees with support from the World Bank, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and other partners.

So far, in Catchment 1, trees have been planted at Tennis Cot Hill Station, Choithram Hospital, and St. Mary’s Supermarket-Hill Cot Junction. In Catchment 2, trees have been planted at locations including the POW School compound, Mamie Gumble Compound (Kingtom), Government Secondary School Kingtom, G-Gate Compound, Soja Compound, G-Gate Roundabout, Maranella Guesthouse, Limount School, back off Soja Compound, Milton Margai College, Congo Cross, Hill Cot Roundabout, Hill Cut Roadsides, King Harman Road, and FSSG School. Catchment 3 includes the FBC Botanical Garden, Blue Gate-FBC Road, AYV compound, and Guma Compound-Tower Hill.

In Catchment 5, trees have been planted at Upper Kissy Mental, Methodist Boys High School, Bishop Gate-Kissy, Wesleyan Church-Kissy, and Police Barracks-Kissy. Catchment 9 includes York landslide site, Tokeh Hospital, Gondama Water Catchment, and Tokeh School. Lastly, Catchment 13 has seen tree planting at Cockeril Compound, Military War Graves, Juba, Pentagon new site/Kamayama-Engine, and the Mudslide Area in Regent.

 A total of 91,751 trees have been planted in Catchment 1, 117,026 in Catchment 2, 46,635 in Catchment 3, 54,130 in Catchment 5, 145,557 in Catchment 9, and 73,105 trees in Catchment 13.

On June 13, 2024, Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr convened a high-level meeting with donors, including the World Bank, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Associate Deliveries, to discuss the progress of the #FreetowntheTreetown project. The discussions focused on project’s sustainability and the urgent need for additional funding. Currently, FCC is in talks with C40 Cities about expanding the initiative to other parts of Freetown and globally, aiming to get a business model for FCC.

The meeting also addressed the importance of safeguarding the trees at both community and national levels, which is crucial for the project’s sustainability. To ensure comprehensive support, the meeting between FCC and donors highlighted the need for a multisectoral approach involving various government ministries, such as the Ministries of Local Government, Environment, and Lands.

During their week-long visit to Freetown, the team from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Associate Deliveries visited Catchment 3- Koleh Town to see the mangroves and FBC Botanical Garden to see terrestrial trees and in Catchment 13 to see trees planted for slope stabilization.

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