The Gola Rainforest National Park in south-east Sierra Leone is one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots. The Gola REDD project is working with local communities and other key stakeholders to manage the park’s forests sustainably through a focus on land use planning, agroforestry, education, health and sustainable agriculture – helping rebuild lives following over a decade of war and the worst ever Ebola outbreak.

Already training and support in sustainable cocoa production has opened up routes to the Western markets. To date 168 staff are employed and 122 communities supported. 140,000 hectares are being managed (70,000 hectares of the park itself and a 70,000-hectare buffer zone). Protecting habitat for 327 bird species, 650 endemic plant species, and 49 species of larger mammals, including the elusive Pygmy Hippo and the Western Chimpanzee.  The project will reduce 5m tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2021.

ClimateCare has partnered with Gola Rainforest Conservation LG (an equal partnership between the Government of Sierra Leone, the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Gola Communities).  They are working together to help keep Gola’s trees standing – for its wildlife, the rural communities that depend on it, and the planet.

Delivering towards the Global Goals

No poverty

Reducing poverty through support of farming, community saving schemes and education across 122 communities with over 24,000 people.

Good health and well-being

Carbon funds are financing access to basic healthcare, including a district clinic and medical support services for communities around the newly formed national park.

Quality education

Supporting rural education in the Forest’s impoverished communities through investment in schools and 700 annual secondary school scholarships, equally distributed to boys and girls.

Decent work and economic growth

168 local staff employed, the vast majority coming from forest edge communities. 122 communities supported through sustainable agriculture programmes (particularly cocoa production).

Sustainable cities and communities

Making communities more resilient through education (thousands attending roadshows and listening to the Gola radio show) and support initiatives, generating and diversifying income and developing key infrastructure.

Climate action

CCB Gold for Climate Change Adaptation. Reducing global carbon emissions by half a million tonnes of CO2e annually.

Life below water

CCB Gold for Biodiversity. Protecting 31 fish species, 35% of which are endemic to the region.

Life on land

Protecting habitat for 327 bird species, 650 endemic plant species, and 49 species of larger mammals, including the elusive Pygmy Hippo and the Western Chimpanzee.


Mariama is 36 years old and has a daughter who is 15 years old. Her husband died in 1999 during the civil war and she and her younger sister care for their elderly father.

Mariama is a high-school graduate and has completed a post-graduate course in computing. She wanted to earn money and was attracted to the role of Forest Guard by the nature of the work in the National Park.

Of the 116 that began field ranger training with her, Mariama was one of only 25 selected as Forest Guards.

Mariama D. Sesay, Gola Rainforest National Park Forest Guard

What the carbon finance delivers

Carbon finance, through direct loyalty payments, incentivises local communities to conserve the forest’s natural resources and allows them to develop skills and generate income, protecting this unique environment and helping lift families out of poverty, following its years of conflict and the Ebola outbreak.

The carbon finance helped enable the designation of the area as a National Park in 2011, and ensures effective management through transparency and local involvement in conservation activities. It aims to foster a sense of stewardship for the forest in the surrounding local communities.