By Cherno Omar Bobb
The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS), the National Youth Council (NYC) and the West African Bird Study Association (WABSA), in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Saturday launched the one million tree planting project in Suwareh Kunda, North Bank Region.
The project is a brand of youth cooperatives working for environmental ecosystem protection initiated by UNDP called Youth Ecobrigade Programme. It is an initiative that targets the preservation of the environment and the creation of green job opportunities for the youth to continue their participation in climate change mitigation activities and the promotion of livelihood in the North Bank Region.
Among trees to be planted during the exercise include 4000 mahogany, 2000 silk cotton, 1000 bunkong, 500 lengko, 400 bush mangoes, 200 tamarind, 6000 gmalina, 4000 cashew, 2000 small lemon, 2000 big lemon and 400 mangoes.
Abdoulie Fye, Director of Programme and Operations at The Gambia Red Cross Society said the idea to embark on the tree planting exercise is to respond in addressing climate crises as the destruction of the forest has negatively impacted on the climate.
He noted that trees are of definite need in North Bank Region as it is seriously impacted by deforestation, adding that the recent windstorm in July made a lot of destructions in the that Region.
Mr Fye said they will monitor the planted trees to ensure they are well protected. He encouraged beneficiary communities to take ownership of the project.
Dr. Almamy Camara, programme specialist Environment and Resilience Development at the UNDP said the project’s target is to enhance the environment by regenerating trees and re-vegetate the degraded environment. He described climate change as man-made, saying it has an impact on the natural environment. “The way we cut trees and cultivate contribute to the impact of global warming,” he went on, adding that the best strategy is to adapt to its impact and mitigate the emission of the green house gas.
He revealed that the project cost is estimated at 200, 000 US Dollars and will run until December, but was quick to add that trees must be planted during the rainy season.
He further said that there is a possibility for the project’s extension but that will depend on how successful the pilot phase is. He called on the youth to take up tree nursery development as a profession. He also urged communities to ensure that the planted trees are protected from fire, animals and all kinds of vandalism.
Lamin Saidykhan, Governor of the North Bank Region thanked The Gambia Red Cross Society and partners for the project which he said came at a time when the region needed it.
Muhammed Suwareh, Regional Youth Chairperson of NBR for NYC urged the youth to take ownership of the project and tree nursery development.
The Imam of Suwareh Kunda, Samu Suwareh, said the project will be beneficial to the entire region and therefore appealed to beneficiaries to ensure its sustainability.