The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS), National Youth Council (NYC) and West African Bird Study Association (WABSA) in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Saturday launched the one million trees 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 to preserve environment and create green job opportunities for youth to continue their participation in climate change mitigation activities and the promotion of livelihoods strengthened in North Bank Region.
Among trees to be planted during the exercise are 4000 Mahogany, 2000 silk cotton, 1000 bunkong, 500 lengko, 400 bush mango, 200 tamarin, 60000 gmailna, 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 forests have impacted our climate negatively.
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 caused a lot of destructions in North Bank 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 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said the project’s target is to enhance the environment by regenerating trees and re-vegetate the degraded environment.
Dr. Camara described climate change as manmade, saying it has an impacted the natural environment. “The way we cut trees and cultivate contribute to the impact of global warming,” he said, saying the best strategy is to adapt to its impact and mitigate the emission of the greenhouse gas.
He revealed that the project cost is 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 youth to take up tree nursery development as a profession. He also urged communities to ensure the planted trees are protected from fires, animals and all kinds of vandalism.
Lamin Saidykhan, Governor of North Bank Region thanked The Gambia Red Cross Society and partners for the project which he said came at a time when the region needs it.
Muhammed Suwareh, Regional Youth Chairperson of NBR for NYC urged youth to both take up tree nursery developmentandownership of the project.
Samu Suwareh, Suwareh Kunda Imam said the project will be beneficial to the entire region and therefore appealed to beneficiaries to ensure its sustainability.