Nothing is better than working with engaged local members !

By Rania Khalil, CEPF Project Manager 

The CEPF project aims at promoting the conservation of biodiversity in the Upper Beirut River Valley, namely Higher Metn region, through the maintenance of interlinked traditional land-use practices. Through the Hima integrated approach and its various programmes, this project achieves its aim through targeting biodiversity associated with land-use practices, advocating for policy changes, promoting local products, empowering local communities through capacity building, experiential learning, especially women and youth, and livelihoods’ improvement.
For that we are working directly with the local communities in the aim in each Hima. Involving engaged local community members in different sector in our activities:

Land use maintenance/ Agriculture

Farmers from Ras El Metn and Hammana in order to promote and understand sustainable practices: agriculture, harvesting, water management, grazing… Following on the ground with them to strengthen the traditional cultural practices that are nature-friendly at their farms (crop rotation, terracing, sustainable harvesting, preserving and planting local varieties…).
And implementing Hima Farm Best Practices: Drip irrigation systems, organic fertilizers application, pests and diseases’ monitoring, IPM implementation, sustainable harvesting practices…

Biodiversity conservation and monitoring

Assessing the biodiversity is one of the main objectives of this project, especially the targeted species’ presence and distribution to quantify the ecological impact induced by the implementation of sustainable practices on the avifaunal and reptilian diversity of the Upper Metn region, namely Hammana and Ras el Metn.

Policy and management plan
Developing a management plan for the Himas with the participation of local members is essential for a successful organization. Working closely with the locals and the municipalities to elaborate management for the coming years in Hammana and Ras El Metn. Those management plans set the objectives of the Himas and the plan to achieve them.

Awareness and education
Involving kids, youth and families in different educational events and training, targeting the importance of birds, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, sustainable water management and harvesting. All those educational material are communicated in an interactive, playful, and manual ways.

The target of the events are very diversified some event are environmental education for kids, some for families and others for youth. Organizing environmental education days with presentations, games, craft workshops… in order to teach and educate families and young generation about the importance of biodiversity and nature.
We are aiming for the next events to target farmers, local members interested in bird counting in the two villages that are a bottleneck for birds’ migration, women and many more engaged locals.