Social and Environmentally Responsible Tourism in Sierra Leone
Forty kilometers of pristine beaches, mountains and rivers are at the heart of this conservation and development project. As the Senior Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Specialist for Sustainable Tourism, under the Foreign Investment Advisory Service of World Bank/IFC and DFID, EplerWood International created the regional action plan that will help structure the development of the nation’s most beautiful and accessible natural asset, The Western Peninsula. It also created a concession program that enabled the country to generate revenue from its protected areas and historic sites in cooperation with experienced NGOs and the private sector, and financed further protection of fragile natural and cultural sites throughout the nation.
The project identified the urgent need to preserve Bunce Island, one of the most historically important slave castles in West Africa, which remains in a near state of collapse due to the civil war. This island, which was one of the primary points of sale for slaves destined to the rice coasts of South Carolina and Georgia, was named by the World Monument Fund as one of the most endangered monuments in the world in 2007. EplerWood International worked with experts in historic preservation to lobby for the funds to secure this historic resource.
The EplerWood International report for the World Bank found that post-conflict countries like Sierra Leone face enormous barriers to investment for the development of tourism, but by tapping more patient and socially motivated capital that forges business and social agendas they may have better success. The EplerWood action plan resulted in leveraging $900K from DFID/World Bank to continue sustainable tourism planning in Sierra Leone.