By Mustapha Jarju
The Department of Parks and Wildlife Management (DPWM) on Thursday organized a day-long mangrove restoration awareness forum in Soma Jarra West, Lower River Region.
The forum is designed to effectively inform decision-makers, local authorities, and the media about the importance of mangrove planting and the existing mangrove project.
The event was attended by district chiefs, Area Council chairpersons, and community members from the West Coast Region, Lower River Region, Central River Region, and the North Bank Region.
The Director of Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, Momodou Lamin Gasama, said, the mangrove restoration project is strategized with several millions of dalasi that have been pumped into beneficiary communities as a direct consequence of the mangrove restoration for this year.
He stated that the beneficiary communities are taking 60% of the benefits in this project, and his department is seeing tangible benefits in those communities, saying there have been a lot of diverse mangroves all along the coasts from K Point, in Kombo South part of West Coast, Brumen Bridge, and LRR.
“The project covered a lot of degraded wetlands with mangroves and helped the department to understand the amount of mangroves in the country,” Director Gassama explained.
He further stated that the forum is a climate resilience project that is also part of the nature solution that they have started.
He pointed out that his department has a mandate to take care of the wetlands, adding The Gambia has signed an agreement called the “Ramsa Convention” in which mangroves are key components.
A representative from the donors of the project, ORSTED Cooperation, Thomas Lyse, gave a brief background of their relationship with the DPWM saying they have been working with the department for years.
“Last year we covered 240 hectares of mangrove restoration, and this project went up to 4,000 hectares. The project involves up to about 10,000 people in the Gambia and we are proud to be part of this carbon project”, Thomas highlighted.
“The project is a big opportunity for the Gambia government and the local communities,” he contended.
The National Assembly Member for Kiang West, Lamin Ceesay, acknowledged his involvement in the project since its commencement in which his community benefited, adding there have been funds disbursed to the local people who are engaged in planting mangroves.