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Bamboo grows very fast and can therefore serve as a sustainable and renewable source of charcoal and flood resistant construction materials.



In Sierra Leone, increasingly heavy torrential rains are causing flooding. Flooding is increasing poverty and vulnerability by causing erosion in rural areas and humanitarian disasters in urban areas. Erosion are degrading farmlands, decreasing yields and thereby increasing hunger and poverty in rural Bo District where the people depend on agriculture. Flooding is also increasingly causing humanitarian disasters by killing people and destroying property and livelihoods of the urban poor in Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Freetown. 95% of the forest cover has been lost, mainly because 98% (over 90% in Sub-Sahara Africa) of the households in Sierra Leone use firewood or charcoal for cooking. Unsustainable timber harvesting and mining activities are also contributing to deforestation, erosion and flooding. 

Category of the action

Mitigation/Adaptation, Changing public attitudes about climate change

What actions do you propose?

Commercial bamboo farming for community resilience. The project will support youth farmers to plant bamboo on riversides, hillsides, degraded lands, reclaimed lands after mining and other marginal lands that could not be used for farming. Bamboo trees can control erosion and flooding. It also saves the forests by creating a sustainable income generation alternative to wood-cutting and charcoal burning. The project sees climate change as a business opportunity for youth farmers to start-up commercial bamboo farming. Bamboo has over 100 innovative products and uses, including charcoal and construction materials. Bamboo farming can help build a climate resilient communities because it will save the forests, increase income, help the poor to control flooding, and at the same time protect the environment, biodiversity and the ecosystem. Bamboo grows fast and can therefore be a sustainable and renewable source of charcoal and flood resistant construction materials.

Who will take these actions?

community innovators should work with communities to set out goals of how to build more flood resistant communities and save the forests at the same time.

farmers associations should adopt bamboo as a new cash crop

government agencies should support farmers by setting up bamboo nurseries, information and networking opportunities for bamboo stakeholders.

Where will these actions be taken?

action should be taken in sub-Sahara Africa where over 90% of the households depend on firewood or charcoal for cooking.  

What are other key benefits?

the project will help to save the forests by providing a sustainable alternative to fuel wood and charcoal. Saving the forests helps to protect sequester carbon, protect biodiversity, ecosystems and livelihoods of farmers who depend on natural resources. 

What are the proposal’s costs?

The project will need 25,000 to support 1,000 youth farmers to cultivate 1,000,000 bamboo trees. The project will spend $25 per youth farmer to support the cultivation of 1,000,000 trees. After 5 years, the project expects every bamboo farmer to generate a yearly average income of  $500 (harvesting at least 500 mature culms every year). 

Time line

Short term  (5 years) - support the cultivation of 1000 small bamboo plantations and organizing 1000 of bamboo farmers


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