BKYDA, GYIN create fire belt at Bullock Community forest

Friday, January 18, 2019

(Thursday 17th January 2019 Issue)

Dry season in The Gambia is a situation frequently associated with wildfires especially in the provinces which cause serious destruction of the forest cover and wild animals.

In their attempt to address the occurrence of wildfires, Bullock Kampongna Youth Development Association (BKYDA) in collaboration with Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN)-Gambia chapter recently teamed-up and conducted clearing spot exercise by creating belt around the Bullock Community forest.

The exercise was designed to protect the community’s only forest against any wildfires and to conserve biodiversity.

Addressing the gathering, Sulayman MS Jagne, communication and extension officer at forestry department said the activity was initiated by his department in collaboration with NEMA P2RS and NEMA Chosso. “We initiated planting in the villages which is normally done during rainy season. Planting normally starts from 15th July to 15th August, as that time is regarded as the best planting period.”

He said the exercise that targets to support the community was encouraged by the fast deteriorating conditions of the country’s forest covers, stating that bushfire has negative impact on both flora and fauna. “Bushfire have cost the loss of wildlife and their feed. So the negative impact of bushfire is more than even illegal felling of trees which is a global phenomenon.”

Mr. Jagne bemoaned on the alarming rate of bushfire which, he said is a concern to the forestry department. He commended the efforts of youth of Bullock for their foresight and challenged other communities to play a lead role in protecting the forest.

Alieu Jarju, secretary general of Bullock Kampongna Youth Development Association said they are a community-based group founded on November 10th 2014, saying that one of their ongoing activities is their annual tree planting exercise.

“During our first year, we planted over 2000 trees but the number increased to over 3000 last year. It was recommended to us by the department of forestry to follow spot weeding in the planting exercise to protect the planted trees from bushfire and ruminants,” he said.

Mr. Jarju said the exercise targets to protect the forest and wildlife from bushfire, citing the proximity of the forest with the Senegalese Southern province of Casamance. He also disclosed that they have a youth garden that was sponsored by NEMA Chosso and a school feeding project that was supported by World Food Programme.

Jainaba Manjang, GYIN Ambassador said BKYDA is their affiliate in which they conduct several activities together. “This event is unique because after the spot weeding, there was a friendly football match funded by GYIN International CEO-N Amina Sillah. The idea was to build the already existing friendship between the two sides.”