British Queen recognises Gambian volunteer with Commonwealth Points of Light award

Nov 4, 2020, 12:21 PM

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, has recognised Kemo Fatty, representing The Gambia, as the 154th Commonwealth Points of Light recipients in honour of his exceptional voluntary service supporting environmental sustainability.

Kemo is the founder of ‘GreenUp Gambia’, growing an army of 500 volunteers to advocate for environmental issues and promote sustainable farming practices. Under Kemo’s leadership, ‘GreenUp Gambia’ has planted more than 24,000 trees, reforesting more than 15 hectares of degraded lands. Kemo also leads outreach programmes with rural farmers on the topics of climate change and sustainable farming.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen - as Head of the Commonwealth - is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week. By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.

Kemo was today presented with his award - a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen - by the British High Commissioner in The Gambia, David Belgrove OBE, in Banjul.

Kemo said: 

“I am quite happy to receive this Points of Light award on behalf of 'GreenUp' and young people in the Gambia, who are at the forefront of climate action with passion and dedication. Over the years hectares of degraded lands and mangrove ecosystems have been restored by young people; they have put up a red flag on exploitation of marine resources, illegal timber and sand mining.

"This nomination reflects the work done over the years which would not have been possible if it weren’t for the young people of The Gambia, our volunteers, partners and sister organisations in the fight against climate action. Their determination, commitment and actions seem infinite and truly inspirational that gives me the drive to act each day.

"Growing up in Sub-Saharan Africa, I became more and more concerned about the significant implications that the loss of biodiversity and climate change has on our livelihood and communities and most importantly, we are asking: is there a future for us?

"The impacts of environmental injustice on our environment, economy, health and wellbeing have evidently made it hard to live with nature as we depend on it unsustainably without thinking of the future implications. This has become a sobering reflection for us, the young people, and we have a moral obligation to leave a better earth for our children.

"We would all like to thank the Commonwealth of Nations and the British High Commission in The Gambia for the nomination. At 'GreenUp', we pledge our untiring efforts to conserve for now and posterity as wide a spectrum as possible of our remaining Flora and Fauna.”

David Belgrove OBE, British High Commissioner to The Gambia, said:

“I am delighted that Kemo Fatty has been recognised through the Points of Lights Award for his outstanding work on climate change and the environment. Climate change and threats to the natural environment are the one of the greatest challenges the world is facing. His passion and dedication benefits us all.”

The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 54 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The Heads of Government meeting brought together leaders from all the 54 Member countries to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree how to work to create a better future for all citizens, especially young people. Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why Her Majesty the Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.

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