Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bioclimate Education Centre to provide income, employment opportunities

Kawsu Jammeh addressing participants
Mr. Kawsu Jammeh, Coordinator Sahel Wetlands Concern, Community-Based organisation in Dumbuto in the Lower River Region says that the modern-day Bioclimate Education Centre which construction is ongoing is to provide income and employment opportunities for the communities in Lower River Region and other regions across the country. 

The organisation gathered participation from the various levels of community in the region to took part in the inception workshop organized by Sahel Wetlands Concern..

Sahel Wetlands Concern proposal to construct a Bioclimate Education centre is funded by the Global Environment Facility-Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) to construct a centre in Dumbuto village in Kiang West, LRR.

The centre, if completed, will have a library, conference hall, offices among other facilities and it will be the country’s first Bioclimate Education Center.

Coordinator Jammeh at the inception workshop gave an overview of the project saying that the centre if completed will be beneficiary to not only the people of LRR but the country as a whole.

According to him, tourists as well Gambia can use the centre for research and other purposes adding that the centre will also serve as income generation for the local community because it is in a protected area whereby tourist can do bird watching.

He also spoke at length on forest conservation and the importance of our forest saying that “our forest provides food and shelter to both men and animals.”

Speaking earlier, Alhagie Omar Gibba, Chief of Kiang West applauded Sahel Wetlands Concern for bring such an important to the door steps of the local communities adding that the project is timely.

He also spoke at length on the importance of protecting the forest saying that forests also supply raw materials and resources for local communities.

He advised participants to be good Ambassadors by protecting the forest from bush fires which he said can be done through early burning of the forest.

Forests also regulate nature's water cycle and contribute in maintaining environmental stability for sustained agricultural crop and animal production. Forests prevent flash flood and soil erosion. Without the forests, soil and other debris may sweep down to block streams. They also minimize air pollution, said chief Gibba.

Community forestry, Chief Gibba noted is an evolving branch of forestry whereby the local community plays a significant role in forest management and land use decision making by themselves in the facilitating support of government as well as change agents. It involves the participation and collaboration of various stakeholders including community, government and non-government organisations (NGO’s). He also spoke of unity among communities for the smooth implementation of the project.

Mr. Abdoulie Marr, Department of Forestry, reminded participants on the importance of community forestry saying that community forestry has been considered one of the most promising options of combining forest conservation with rural development and community empowerment and poverty reduction objectives.

Community forestry exists when the local community in an area plays a significant role in land use decision-making and when the community is satisfied with its involvement and benefits from the management of the surrounding forest and its resources.

Speaker after speaker at the workshop including Mr. Abdoulie Sawo Sahel Wetlands Concern spoke on the importance and timely of the project as well protecting our biodiversity for future generation. 

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