Gambia: D42 Million Bakoteh Dumpsite Project Launched to Reduce Child Rights Violation

24 February 2021

SOS Children's Village in partnership with Kanifing Municipal Council with funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on Tuesday launched a national project worth over D42M.

The sustainable waste management scheme is designed to reduce child rights violation at the Bakoteh dumpsite. The project also seeks to protect the families and children in the area from health, environmental and economic risks. The main beneficiary communities of the two years project are Bakoteh, Manjai and Dippa Kunda, targeting 200 families including 1000 children and 50 youth.

At least 10,000 people will be sensitised by the project.

At the launch, Fatou Kinteh, minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare, while giving her remarks, said SOS Children's Village came to the country over 30 years ago to complement the efforts of government in protecting the welfare and rights of children. She described the project as big, adding that they were aware that the dumpsite has become a health and environmental hazard to the people who live around the dumpsite.

"What needs to be done now is to make sure that we manage it well so that it no longer becomes a health and an environmental hazard. People who live around the area have a right to their health and their welfare so it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that we live in a clean and a healthy environment." She emphasized

She thanked the German cooperation and all the partners for supporting the project.

Ahmed Talib Bensuda, mayor, KMC, in his deliberations, said the day marks a significant mile stone for their municipality, adding that the Bakoteh dumpsite remains the largest challenge facing KMC. He expressed optimism that the collaboration that they have with SOS will enhance the management of the Bakoteh dumpsite in order to improve the lives of people of Bakoteh, Dippa Kunda and Manjai.

"The value of the project is over D42M with some highlights including construction of two access roads within the dumpsite to enable waste collection, improve emergency response through the installation of multiple fire hydrants."

He added that the project also seeks to enhance security through the provision of 30 solar lights and mobility for the Kanifing Municipal police, improve health and safety for those working on the side and others.

He thanked the German government and SOS for their partnership.

Guided by the spirit of the UN convention on the rights of the child and The Gambia Children's Act 2005, Mariatou Sallah, the national director, SOS Children's Villages The Gambia, said SOS Children's Villages advocates for the rights of children and believes that a child's development is best achieved in a conducive environment.

She highlighted some of the projects that SOS had implemented, saying that the sustainable waste management to reduce child rights violation is their latest project and that they have a number of beneficiaries of about 1.2 million for the past 38 years that SOS has been in operation.

Speaking on behalf of the children of the beneficiary communities, Kanny Sowe thanked project sponsors for treating them as important stakeholders in the project.

"The Bakoteh dumpsite is a big problem especially for us the children. During the raining season the dumpsite becomes heavily flooded causing very bad odor which makes it very difficult for us to breathe."

Stagnant water, she added becomes perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes after heavy rains causing diseases.

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