Dec 22, 2010, 11:34 AM
The campaign, led by the North Bank Region regional forestry officer, was organised by Stay Green Foundation and funded by Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Small Grant under the UNDP Project.
The campaign, which targeted forty village heads including their village development committees, was aimed at bringing them together and share knowledge about the effects and the negative impacts of bush fire in the country’s socio-economic development.
During the meeting in various districts, bush fire, sustainable land management, deforestation, erosion, cross-boundary among other environmental issues were discussed with the sole aim of reducing bush fire in the environment.
Speaking at the opening ceremony held at Kerr Jarga on Tuesday, Babuarr Mbye, coordinator of Stay Green Foundation, explained to the gathering that Stay Green Foundation was established in 1995, as a local NGO operating in environmental and natural resource management.
Mr Mbye also told the gathering that Stay Green Foundation is only operating in Lower and Upper Niumi in North Bank Region.
He further stated that currently Stay Green Foundation is benefiting from the GEF Small Grant Programme, adding that the project is called the Community Action for Environmental Management and Conservation.
Mr Mbye also told the gathering that Stay Green Foundation is a small local NGO that is partnering with Government departments to carry out its activities.
As a result of this his NGO, in collaboration with the department of forestry, who are the technical partners, is taking the lead to carry out this ant-bush fire campaign in North Bank Region, he said.
According to him, currently people are talking about sustainable land management casting bush fire as one of the things that can cause negative impact on land management.
“Bush fire can also contribute to the loss of the forest bio-diversity,” he said, adding that climate change is a talk of the day as far as environmental conservation is concerned.
Mr Mbye said it is their role and responsibility, as watchdog of the villages, to inform their villagers about what was discussed during the three days.
He also expressed worry over the trend of the land and environmental degradation in North Bank Region calling for a concerted effort to put in place a mechanism to arrest the situation; otherwise the country will lose most of its bio-diversity.
He said Stay Green Foundation is focusing on three main areas, namely land degradation, climate change, and bio-diversity.
Mr Mbye further expressed happiness for the participation of the various stakeholders, particularly the chief of Jokadu, for mobilizing their community in large numbers to participate in the forum.
Their aim was to sensitize the farmers to reduce bush fire as they are the custodial of the forest, he noted, saying he was impressive about the way the meeting was conducted and with the level of the participation of the Alkalo and the chief, which has shown high commitment to national development.
“What is needed is people to change their attitude towards the forest,” he said.
For his part, the chief of Jokadu, Alhagie Fatim Jim Jobe, expressed total appreciation to the management of Stay Green Foundation and the forestry department for organizing the meeting, saying bush fire has become a cause for concern in North Bank Region.
“So, conducting this anti-bush fire forum will help greatly to create more awareness in the reduction of bush fire in our region,” Alhagie Jobe said.
In his remarks at the forum, the regional forestry officer, Ebou Janka, advised the people of North Bank Region to be conscious of the negative impacts of bush fire and “take ownership of our forest for our future generation”.
He spoke at length on the importance of the forest to the country’s socio-economic development and national livelihood.