Ranita A S
I am a female Sierra Leonean Environmental and Gender Specialist. Having spent more than 15 years working on Environmental, Social and Gender issues in Sierra Leone, I am aware of the critical environmental issues caused by both natural and human impacts. I have extensive experience in environmental issues related to Water and Sanitation, Climate Adaptation and Resilience; Fisheries and Coastal projects; while integrating gender into SDGs.
In my professional perspective, environmental and climate change advocacy are fundamental contributions to my achievements. I feel, particularly, committed to environmental and climate change in certain affected communities. I take pride in mediating between the environment and the interest of women. My mission is accomplished when women’s interests are elevated. I have experience working with government institutions and local councils. I am familiar working with donor funded projects and have a passion to build a strong career surrounding gender-related climate change issues.
This proposal seeks to function in the Hill station community in the upper catchment of Freetown. The initiative will demonstrate how flooding can be controlled through direct intervention – river control specifically. The project will be effective by improving the river channel and giving free passage for storm water to reach the estuary/sea without threatening lives and damaging properties - reclaiming the river as a major asset of the city.
The project is to last for 10 months. It will be highly participatory and will be undertaken by a combination of community representatives and, both, national and local government officers.
Activities will include:
- Confirming all causes of flooding within the Hill station community with maps showing high-risk areas. Information will be collected from Freetown Storm Water Master Plan records and will also be confirmed through local interviews
- Mapping existing and potential alignments of all major gulleys / culverts.
- Identifying infrastructure for improvements (bridges /culverts/channel floodwalls/housing relocation)
- Clearing the river channel and ensuring better waste management in the catchment
- Strengthening the use of model byelaws and community sensitisation
- Planting of 160 trees along a 1,600 metre stretch of the river channel
The initiative was born out of recommendations from the Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment of the Freetown Storm Water Master Plan 2016 that I was involved in. Studies showed that deforestation and intensified ad hoc infrastructural development along the river channels are two of the major causes of flooding in the city. The floods of August 2019 exposed the scale of the problem, indicating growth in its severity - growing with the onset of climate change. It was also reflected in the studies that nine river channels in the city have lost their ecological status in retaining storm water due to being used as open sewage and illegal settlement.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
I am passionate about restoring the ecological system of the city river channels which will contribute to climate adaptation strategy. My motivation goes beyond reclaiming the river channels and will involve providing appropriate information on climate change resilience to the community. This project will also trigger socio-economic benefits through the planting of economic tress along the river channel.