LIBERIA – The City Government of Monrovia, on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, launched the Monrovia Grow Green (MonGrow Green) Project with the aim of addressing climate change-related crises including flooding and sea erosion. The project will also seek to transform Monrovia into a safer, cleaner, greener, and more inclusive city through participatory Climate Change mitigation and adaptation interventions.
In implementing the project, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) will work with migrants and displaced communities to plant twenty thousand (20,000) mangrove and coconut trees to establish green corridors along the former Somalia Drive, now Japanese Freeway; West Point and New Kru Town coastlines and along the Mesurado River. These trees will serve four main purposes: balance the soil, provide a green and shady environment for residents, absorb excess soil/groundwater, and absorb carbon emissions emitted by human activities.
Most importantly, the project aims to provide a livelihood to climate migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and provide public awareness and sensitization on climate mitigation and adaptation mechanisms. The project shall directly impact 150 climate migrants and IDPs between the ages 18 to 35 years and the second group will be 36yrs and above comprising only women through livelihood training business support.
The MonGrow Green projected is supported by the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) through the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees – the MMC’s response to the unmet needs of cities as they support migrants, refugees, and internally displaced people (IDPs) in the face of pressing challenges, from global pandemics to the climate crisis.
By directly funding cities to implement inclusive programs of their own design, the GCF builds precedents of fiscal feasibility in city governments that are often disregarded by donors with low-risk tolerance. The GCF is led by the MMC in partnership with six key Strategic Partners: the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40 Cities), Metropolis, UN Migration Agency (IOM), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Giving the overview of the project, the Field and Safeguard Officer of the project, Mr. Fayiah Yonda indicated that the project will do everything to ensure that the right people who are actual victims benefit as demonstrated by the due diligence mechanism carried out by the project team after the selection of internally displaced persons was done in collaboration with the community leaders.
He stressed that Mayor Jefferson Koijee’s commitment to empowering women aligned with the project’s objectives to recruit more women and young people who are considered more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate and pandemic-related circumstances.
According to Mr. Yonda, the skills training and business stimulus aspects of the projects will be implemented with utmost seriousness and periodic follow-ups so that those who receive the opportunities can help themselves. “We don’t want you to mismanage the money that will be given for business. So, we will train you on how to manage a business fund. We will do follow-ups to ensure that you are actually doing the business the project empowers you to do. The same will be applied to the skills training for young people below the age of 35yrs. We will identify the schools and make sure those selected attend,” he emphasized.
Speaking at the official launching program in proxy on behalf of Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee, Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) Director General for Internal Operations, Cain Prince Andrews encouraged the selected communities, especially the 150 beneficiaries, to take ownership of the project, stressing that the extension of the project depends on the positive response.
“There are three things I want you all to consider as you embark on this journey; we want you to protect the environment, be careful on how to protect the environment, stop building in the waterways and take maximum precaution.”
“Secondly, protect the trees because there are people who do not want to see these things happening. We, ourselves can do this through local ownership. Lots of things the trees do.”
“And finally, let’s work together with the City Government as my able Boss, the lord Mayor Jefferson Tamba Koijee believes in inclusion,” Mr. Andrews stressed.
At the time the funds were approved by the MMC, Monrovia City Mayor Koijee said “The climate crisis poses enormous risks for Monrovians, and especially our migrant and internally displaced residents, who often live in neighborhoods prone to flooding due to accelerated coastal erosion. The Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees will empower us to green our city, proactively mitigate climate vulnerabilities, and provide the requisite skills and competencies for our youngest citizens to compete in the labor market and contribute to the sustainable economic development of Monrovia and Liberia at large.”
During the December 21, 2022 project launch, representatives of the two targeted communities: West Point and New Kru Town lauded the initiative and pledged to do what is right to ensure the success of the project given the fact that they are bearing the brunt of the climate-related crisis, particularly sea erosion and flooding that took away their homes and wrecked their lives.
“We heard about projects aimed at helping us to get back to normal lives but they did not live to see the light of day. Today, we are participating in the official launch of a significant milestone project that will help us to help ourselves. This makes us happy. We say thank you to those who are leading these efforts and those who are supporting,” Miatta Biola, a sea erosion victim from West Point said.
For the partner: “We’re grateful to Robert Bosch Stiftung for helping us launch this new chapter for the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees and for the IKEA Foundation to keep scaling this cutting-edge work. We are excited to deepen our partnership with C40 Cities and continue to advocate for more funders to join the course, in order to expand the number of cities supported, as well as to other regions of the world.”—Vittoria Zanuso, Executive Director, Mayors Migration Council. Press Release