6 June 2006

Gambia: WABSA Poised to Combat Desertification

The executive director of the West African Birds Study Association ( WABSA), Lamin Jobarteh, has said that desertification is a global phenomenon which requires the holistic participation of all and sundry at both national and local levels to stem it out.

He made these remarks during the presentation ceremony of an assortment of equipment to seven communities involved in WABSA's newly launched "Operation Desertification Control" project. According to him, this project aims to restore the fragile eco-system in the northern parts of The Gambia, through community participation, which he said, is a key to protecting the natural resource base of the country.

Beneficiaries of the donation included the communities of Kerr Mbuguma, Bali, Buranya and No-Kunda in the North Bank Division. The Lamin-Koto, Bani and Niani-Kunting communities, all in the Central River Division, also benefited from the gesture. They were given rakes, watering cans, Beehives, cutlasses and other materials to fight desertification in their respective geographical settings.

Lamin Jobarteh asserted that the majority of Gambians already feel the impact of this vicious cycle of desertification, as it has now become a real life problem which threatens the livelihood of the rural population. The desertification project in Northern Gambia, the area most prone to desert condition, he said, is funded by the Netherlands Committee and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Dry Area Region (NC-IUCN/DAS). The WABSA boss however disclosed that planned activities for the project will center on sensitising the participation of rural communities on sound forest management and its rational utilisation. It is also meant to support local communities by encouraging income generating activities like beekeeping, establishment of woodlots and agro-biodiversity.

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