Monday, March 3, 2014
‘Saving forest is extremely important to mitigate climate change’
“Using groundnutshell briquettes in fuel efficient stoves for your daily cooking, instead of fuelwood in an inefficient fire place, you are saving the forest and saving the forest is extremely important to mitigate climate change and also for environmental sanitation and soil retention,” says Lenja Guenther, Chairperson, GreenTech Vision.
She observed that Gambia has threatening environmental challenges ranging from soil degradation to desertification and loss of biodiversity.
“So if we can protect our forest with less use of firewood and charcoal then we can have a generally healthier environment,” she stated during a daylong training of coregroup members in Tanji on Sales and Micro-credit opportunities for the introduced fuel briquettes and fuel efficient stoves.
Funded by the UNDP Global Environmental Facility (GEF) -Small Grants Programme (SGP), the project, which is implemented by the charity GreenTechVision, is aimed at tackling environmental challenges like deforestation, loss of biodiversity and climate change and improving livelihoods.
The training was to make the coregroups to understand on how the project is expected to continue when the project intervention finishes.
She mentioned that the whole idea about this training is to not only to have the project environmentally and socially sustainable but also financially. The community will receive a stock of briquettes and improved stoves which they are expected to sell on profit so that they can restock their community operated sales points.
“In today’s meeting we will be discussing on which sales point you may choose: what is the requirement of a sale point what is a good location of a sales point and what kind of cost involve initially and operational cost,” she announced.
She explained that the briquettes are made out of 100 percent groundnut shells, which mean the people should no more have to bring down the forest for fuel for their daily cooking.The briquettes are a true alternative for firewood and charcoal.
“The briquette is cost effective and environmentally friendly. Starting sales points in the communities, it will help in the decentralization process, with a positive social and economic impact on the community,” she noted.
She supposes that the decentralisation will also increase the access of briquette for the general public, as most people did not have access to the production plant in Kololi. “Our target is for people to have access to briquettes and compatible fuel efficient stovess she said.
Fatou Jatta, Village Development Committee (VDC) said the important of the training cannot be overemphasis as it will protect them from destroying the forest for the next generation.
She calls on the people of Tanji to use the briquette as it will protect them from buying firewood and charcoal and at the same time protect the forest.
“The stove and briquette are more economically friendly than firewood and charcoal, this is because, you can buy firewood and charcoal for D12 or more but this briquette is just D7 and they do the same function and health wise it’s more advisable,” she said.
Habib Bojang, Vice Chairman of Tanji Coregroup, said their role is to promote the use of stove and the briquettes within the village of Tanji.
He said the stove and briquettes are very important in the fight of protecting the environment.
“If you look at our forest now the dependence is very high, firewood and charcoal, timbers for bed and furniture are all from the forest,” he said.
He added: “If nothing is done there will be a time where nothing will be left there and our animals in the forest will not have a place to go - this is why GreenTechVision comes in to avert the situation. They came up with an alternative to the use of firewood and charcoal”.