ActionAid International The Gambia, in partnership with the National Alliance for Agroecology –The Gambia and Wetlands International, a global NGO promoting wetland conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity in Senegal, has over the weekend launched two projects mangrove management projects in the country.
Among others, the project aims to strengthen the capacities of the Local association’s management and service delivery capabilities as well as Sustainable Forest Management through enhanced livelihood and biodiversity conservation in the Protected Areas in Kanuma, North Bank Region.
It will support the development of a management plan for the Niumi National Park, and it will help address the management gaps in the protected area by priorities conservation efforts and facilitating advocacy to improve management.
In addition, the project will promote the recognition of the biodiversity and social and economic resources that are under considerable threat of climate change and human activities, as well as create inclusively and promote active participation of the relevant stakeholder while improving the living standards for the local communities living around the park, the project officials disclosed at the launching.
According to them, the mangrove forests project hopes to achieve integrated protection of the diversity and fragile ecosystems of Mangrove in West Africa and their enhanced resilience to climate change while aiming to achieve integrated conservation of the diversity and fragile ecosystems of Mangrove in West Africa and their enhanced resilience to climate change.
Musa Sowe, Project Coordinator National Alliance for Agroecology –The Gambia, observed that the project will create livelihood opportunities to strengthen the resilience of people living in the project target areas, adding that it will include training in management, leadership, governance, financial management, and recordkeeping of members of both forest parks within the project target areas.
He continued to disclose that the project will build people’s capacities to be able to keep the proper inflow of cash that is generated from the sales of non-timber forest products, noting that other activities of the project will include proposal development to enable the management committees to be able to create additional income to run their daily activities.
Representing the Executive Director of ActionAid International The Gambia, Mr. Saidina Alieu Jarjou, ActionAid’s Fundraising Manager, said that climate change is real and is affecting the environment.
He cited an example by stating that most of the participants in the hall are fanning themselves with pieces of paper because of the boiling weather.
He said thirty years ago; the Gambia was not as hot as today. ‘Therefore, people should ask themselves, ‘What went wrong’?
Mr. Jarju also stated that the country’s agricultural sector and food production is declining due to climate change, and that has threatened the country’s food security. Thus, the project is trying to address some of those gaps. He added that the project will not leave young people out.
“Most of our youth have ventured into irregular migration, affecting the country’s labor force. Some have reached Italy, but many lives have perished in the Mediterranean Sea. This project will include potential youth and returnees by building their capacities and engaging them to stay at home,” said Jarjou.
He also emphasized the issue of sustainability. According to him, sustainability is a major challenge with most projects in the Gambia. The impacts of most projects could not be seen because immediately after some projects end, communities need to put in more effort to sustain those projects. Therefore, everything goes down the drain. Jarjou urged the community of Niumi and Jokadou to maintain the project for their good.
Other speakers who spoke extensively on the importance of the project include Sarjo Manneh, Park Manager, Nuimi National Park, Councilor, Michel Mendy, Kanuma Ward, Alpha Mariam Khan, Chief of Jokadu thanks the facilitators of the projects as well as the Government of The Gambia for ushering and making such projects available.