By Mariama Marong
Talib Ahmed Bensouda, the Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), on Thursday, August 18, 2022 laid the foundation stone for construction of a modern library worth D45 million.
The construction of the library has been awarded to BAJAM Enterprise Limited within 12 months.
The breakthrough is the initiation of the Kanifing Environmental Transformation Programm (KETP), funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by KMC in partnership with Peterborough City Council, UK.
KETP transformation programme is using a sustainable focus on new integrated waste management approaches to drive environmental social and economic transformation in Kanifing.
The event was attended by ambassadors of UK, France, EU Representative to the Gambia, party leader of UDP and dignitaries from area councils.
Speaking at a ceremony held in Kanifing Multipurpose Center, Mayor Bensouda said the laying of a foundation stone for Kanifing Municipal Library and Innovation Hub is a first of its kind in the municipality and first ever Municipal Library to be built in the county.
He alluded that KM hosts most of the tertiary education institutions in the Gambia, such as the University of The Gambia, American International University, GTTI and MDI as well as other professional training centers.
“In responding to the needs of our community, my administration initiated and planned to build a Municipal Library,” he said.
This, he added, will be a safe, calm and inspiring space for the children, youth and entrepreneurs to have access to knowledge.
The KM mayor noted that the library is a state of art sustainable building to minimize negative environmental impact.
Bensouda said the reason for prioritizing building a library is because it will impact positively on the lives of children and students. He said the upcoming generation can exploit their intellectual capacities by having access to a modern library that includes e-learning facilities equipped with reliable super-fast internet and latest tools for research and innovation.
“To add more value to this venture, next year, KMC will add a cultural center including a 500 seater auditorium, also to be less likely to be located in this site, which will cost an additional 40 million dalasis, the projected budget for this combined complex is over 81 million dalasis,” he said.
He acknowledged the funder of the project for funding the programme and also commended all the staff of KMC and the municipality for their support.
European Union Representative to the Gambia, Gnya Braun, said the EU Gambia partnership has helped deliver important development goals for the country, including paving nearly 50% of the Gambian road network project funded by the EU.
Ms Braun said EU is supporting Kanifing Municipality with an approved amount of 180 million dalasis in transformation program (KETP)—a three year program which will focus on waste management, tree planting and part management.
“The project helps to foster peer to peer exchange between Kanifing and Peterborough to transfer best practices between both cities toward achievement of the SDGs,” she said.
She said that building of a library will help boost the educational level of the community and The Gambia at large, adding that the library will serve as a center for enabling cross fertilization of ideas creating a circular economy.
The Director of National Library, Bakary Sanyang, said the construction of a modern library within a municipality is an important step towards achieving a greater goal when it comes to education.
He called on the council to consider the community and schools within the jurisdiction of the library, while urging students and users of the library to make the best use of the opportunity.
Alieu Nyang, project director of Kanifing Environmental Transformation Programme (KETP), said the building of a modern library will help in the learning system.
He noted that KETP project will fully be implemented as planned and all what needs to be done will be achieved. He expressed his profound gratitude to the EU for supporting what he called a great initiative.