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NEWS : Local News  

TIAC Holds Annual Meet in Sierra Leone
By Bampia J. Bundu
Nov 25, 2008, 17:21
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Tiwai Island Administrative Committee (TIAC) has on Saturday the 22nd November 2008 held its annual meeting. As usual, it was geared towards the development of the island. The meeting was held at Tiwai Island in the South/Eastern Region of the country. The Tiwai Island is situated between the Barri and Koya Chiefdoms in the Pujehun and Kenema Districts respectively.

 
Tiwai Staff and EFA members pose for a camera shot

Tiwai is a community conservation programme, managed by an umbrella body called TIAC, comprising host communities, the government, universities and conservation organizations, including the Environment Foundation for Africa (EFA).
 
April Leane Conway studient from USA inspect one of his camera traps in the island with his assistance

Addressing the meeting, Hon. Alhaji Jobson Momoh of Constituency 20, covering Barri Chiefdom in the Pujehun District commended EFA for organizing such a wonderful meeting that brought together all stakeholders in the two districts to discuss the development of the Island. "The Tiwai Island is indeed a blessing to the two chiefdoms," he noted. He advised residents to take proper care of what he referred to as ‘a God given treasure.’ 
 
TIAC Members brainstorming the way foreward

According to him, if properly managed the island would immensely benefit the host communities. He explained further that the island has been designed by the EFA in order to make it an attracting and monumental environment for researchers, tourists and students from different parts of the world. 

Cross section of the crowd

Delivering a statement on behalf of the Tourism and Culture Ministry, Mr. David Abibu expressed his ministry’s commitment to the development of the island, adding that Tiwai Island is one of the country’s most beautiful and treasured tourist resorts. He disclosed that the ministry has almost secured funding from the UNDP, and assured that the funds will be made available as soon as their project proposal is submitted. "The funds will be used for the improvement of the island," he told the gathering. 
 
Hon. Jobson Momoh delivering the opening address

He also spoke of the components of tourism as including, but not limited to accessibility, attraction and amenities. He therefore, called on EFA to continue their hard work on the island. He used the occasion as an opportunity to call on the Barri and Koya chiefdoms to give their unflinching support to EFA by helping in the preservation of the island. 
 
Deputy Director Ministry of Tourism Mr David Abibu making a statement

A PHD in Forest Resource student from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, April Leane Conway, who is presently on pygmy hippo research at the island also made a statement. She said the reason for her visit to the island was to undertake a research work. "The research is based on estimation and lifestyle of pygmy hippos. These animals can only be found in four countries in the world including Sierra Leone," she said.

 
EFA Director Mr Tommy Garnnett delivering a statement

Conway said she has erected over twenty camera stand points in every corner of the island to snap and record the number of primates living inhabiting it, especially pygmy hippo. She commended EFA, Conservation International and her professors, Dr. John Caroll and Dr. Sonia Hernandez for their courage and support throughout her research on the island. She called on the community people to protect the animals, especially the pygmy hippo as they are nice animals that are treasured by people from all over the world; and will help attract more revenue for the country. She also called on colleague researchers to pay a visit to the island.

EFA Director, Mr. Tommy Garnnett commended the guests for leaving their busy schedules to attend the meeting. He entreated them to continue their loyal support to the activities of the island.

He disclosed that EFA has succeeded in constructing an ultra modern cultural visitors’ and researchers’ center that also caters for proper camping facilities for tourists, students and researchers alike. "For the advantage of visitors residing out of Sierra Leone, we have created a website through which they can log in and access information about all they need to know about the island. Please feel free to log on to www.tiwaiisland.org," he stated.

Mr. Garnnett further admonished the community people to continue serving as watchdogs of the island, saying "Your cooperation in that regard will bring immense benefit in cash that will subsequently be shared among the communities. He also used the forum to urge students both at home and abroad to make the island their number one choice of doing research. He said the island is a unique rain forest island where visitors can camp in prepared tents surrounded by an evergreen forest and the sounds of hornbills and monkeys calling from the canopies, adding that the island has the highest concentration and diversity of primates in the world as it has eleven different species. He ended by calling on the government, community people and charitable organizations to continue giving them the support in order to improve the island.


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