Author(s): Estelle Levin-Nally, Ellen Suthers
Client(s): USAID, The Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability (FESS)
Date: Feb 2007
Tongo Fields is the second largest diamond-producing area in Sierra Leone. Endowed with both alluvial and kimberlite deposits, Tongo Fields became a major hub of artisanal diamond mining during and after the period of conflict from about 1999 to 2002.
Tongo Fields is the urban center of the Lower Bambara Chiefdom, one of sixteen chiefdoms in the Kenema district and home to approximately 78,000 people. The issue of land reclamation is a timely one in this region. Acres of land in the Tongo Fields area have been mined extensively, and many mined sites now are virtually unproductive, hazardous to community health and safety, and a waste of potentially arable land. There is local awareness of the need for environmental reclamation, and there are already precedents within the Lower Bambara Chiefdom for reclaiming mined land and planting food crops.
The Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability (FESS) is a public policy organization that works with governments, civil society organizations, and international donor organizations to address environmental issues that have implications for political stability, social peace, livelihoods, and sustainable development.