Green Up 10,000, a national youth-led tree planting initiative has rolled out its first major campaign on Saturday 8th October, 2016, with the planting of one thousand and hundred (1,100) trees in Medina Mennen in the North Bank Region.
This came few weeks after the colourful unveiling of the project that targets to plant ten thousand (10,000) trees across The Gambia.
The Green Up is co-implemented by Climate Watch- The Gambia (CWG) and Youth Action for Sustainable Development.
Launched by the Executive Director of the National Youth Council on September 16th, 2016 in Kotu, the project is conceived by a group of thoughtful and environmentally concerned youths who saw the foresight to address the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation, restored our forest covers and create a friendly environment for human existence.
The tree planting exercise held on the theme “Climate Change is real, Act now”, garnered the support and attracted the participation of members of the Village’s Development Committee, traditional and school authorities, youths and the women folk.
A major highlight of the exercise and key component of the initiative is environmental and climate change awareness education that was held before the tree planting activity. In this programme, villagers were enlightened about climate change issues and the need to put their weight behind the project in ensuring a more sustainable environment.
The Alkalo of the village, Momodou Jallow, welcomed the initiative and said the village attaches a lot of significance to trees. He thanked the team for choosing his community as a beneficiary and called on Green Up and other stakeholders to help the village with more water supply as the village is hindered by inadequate water supply.
Also speaking at the event, Amadou Jallow, the Chairman of Village Development Committee (VDC) and focal person of the Green Up initiative in Lower Niumi, hailed the efforts of the Green Up project for bringing the project to their village.
Jallow commended the women of the village for their massive turnout and participation in the project. He assured the Green Up team of his committee’s commitment to meeting the objectives of the project.
The Project Manager of Green Up 10,000, Kemo Fatty said the project came out as a result of the need to address impacts of climate change on the livelihoods of the locals as agriculture is the main economic activity across the country.
“Since we don’t have much access to renewable energy and expensive irrigation mechanism, we need to resort to simple actions like planting trees as we have a 3-months long rainfall season” he stated.
According to him, based on scientific reasoning, rainfall pattern is expected to fall by 50% in 2020 and this is an alarming situation for us”. He urged youths to stand up and mitigate the
impacts of climate change within their environments.
“These trees planted have numerous benefits to the environment and the community at large. The rainfall pattern has changed as we experience a short rainfall spell. The fishermen suffer as fish move to a cooler environment because of the heat – all these are effects and impacts of climate change’’ he added.
VDC Secretary General, Amadou Jallow described the project as timely and that it will a long way to preserving the forest therein mitigating climate change problems.
Saikou Suwareh Jabai, Executive Director of Climate Watch –The Gambia (CWG) and Green Up Coordinator recalled that over the last few years, the forest cover and number of trees in The Gambia has significantly reduced.
Jabai thus urged the villagers to ensure the protection of the trees for a sustainable environment. He commended the villagers for their hospitality and said the project also marks the beginning of a relationship between the two parties.
Omar Malmo Sambou, Green Up Advocacy and Education Officer, underscored the importance of planting trees noting that trees help to protect the environment in many ways.
“They serve as medicines and Carbon sinks, absorb the carbon dioxide during photosynthesis process’’ he noted.
Malmo further indicated that agricultural production in rain-fed nations is expected to fell by 50% in 2020 across developing countries and which the Gambia is not an exception to,” he said.
He affirmed that activities like tree planting engagements can help to better the situations.