A gold-mining location in Sierra Leone.

West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA-BiCC) Forestry

To illustrate the dangers of gold mining and selling bush meat on the long-term protection of the West Africa forest lands, a new radio drama set in Mano N’Zela, a fictional town in the Mano River Union region of Sierra Leone is launching. As the drama unfolds over the course of 24 episodes, audiences will follow the village chief as conflicts of interest pull his heart in different directions.  He symbolizes a struggle faced by leaders throughout this region and the rest of the world: How to reap the benefits of natural resources without losing the ability to provide for future generations?

Mano N’Zela is located on the edge of a protected forest, rich in gold and in bush meat—both of which pose serious challenges to the forest that sustains the population of the community and the complex cast of characters who live there. 

The town’s Paramount Chief, Chief Blama Wleh has long been admired for his fair manner of ruling and his ability to overcome political and personal adversity. But his love for his family, particularly his wife—who illegally sources bush meat for her restaurant from poachers— and son, Koko— a gold miner who dumps waste, contaminating water supplies—leads to the dramatic tension that threatens his reputation as a wise leader and puts the fragile infrastructure of the forest at risk.

Stay tuned to find out if Chief Blama Wleh will succumb to the negative influence of his family or lead with a vision for his town’s long-term prosperity and livelihood.

PCI Media has partnered with Tetra Tech in the USAID-funded five-year West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA-BiCC) initiative. The radio drama, set for broadcast in early 2020, is the flagship effort to protect inland and forest communities from impacts that may result from unsustainable environmental practices. The radio program also includes social media and community mobilization components, reaching out to target audiences in the 4 Mano River Union countries with call-in programs, interactive community gatherings including promotional events, organized listening sessions and engagement with school nature classes.

Listen carefully.  The forests that sustain us all may depend on the outcome of this story and others like it!