By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Director of Programmes and Operations at the Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS), Abdoulie Fye, has urged communities to build peace among themselves, within their villages but also among their neighboring communities.
Mr. Fye made these remarks at Pieara Tenda, Upper River Region during the conclusion of the Peace Building Fund project.
The GRCS, in partnership with the World Food Programme (WPF) through the Peace Building Fund supplied ten communities in North Bank, Central River, and Upper River Regions with 600 spades, 300 rakes, 300 cutlasses, 200 watering cans and 50 wheelbarrows as well as planted 45, 000 trees.
The trees included mahogany, bantango, lime, moringa, oranges, cashew, gmelina and mangoes.
The exercise was carried out in partnership with Government institutions such as the ministries of Agriculture, Environment Climate Change and Natural Resources, the Department of Forestry, the Integrated Pest Management Directorate under the National Agricultural Research Institute and Community Development.
The Peace Building Fund project aims at promoting peaceful coexistence among communities in addressing such negative impacts of climate change like land disputes.
Director Fye said they expect beneficiary communities to nurture and help the plants grow to ensure it brings benefits to them. He further said that the project reforestation aspect aims to contribute to taking care of the environment as there has been a lot of deforestation for the past years, while the agro-forestry aspect aims to encourage the creation of new forests to ensure communities have forests. He highlighted that community forests can bring a lot of benefits to communities.
Fye observed that land disputes have brought in a lot of conflicts among communities, noting that they are also trying to address it with communities. He said they want communities to ensure available land is managed without any dispute or conflicts.
Njogou Jeng, Senior Program Associate Disaster Risk Management at WFP said climate change is one of the major factors that is causing resource scarcity which is one of the contributing factors to conflict at community level. He added that with that in mind, the project is important and time sensitive given the fact that it is also providing alternative livelihood means to people in conflict.
Mr Jeng stated that the support they provided was at the request of communities, adding that they are pleased that communities that had conflict are coming together in peace in the implementation of the project.