Low Literacy Rate Continues to Impede Climate Change Resilience in Gambia


By Ndey Sowe

Miamuna Sidibeh, the Principal Program Officer of UNESCO-NATCOM, has disclosed that limited awareness and low literacy rate among women and youth, continues to impede climate change awareness and resilience in the Gambia.

According to Ms. Sidibeh, these shortfalls coupled with other factors such as limited information sharing, continues to worsen people’s response to climate change in the Gambia Ms. Sidibeh made these and other assertions during a two-day sensitization workshop on climate change legislation dubbed: “UNESCO Participation Program 2020-2021”, project.

The project targets women and youth since they constitute the most active part of the population which can impact efforts on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Sidibeh said women in particular are the most interactive group of Gambia’s productive sector and the environment.

“The Covid-19 pandemic which has spread across the planet in 2020, is not only a global health crisis, but one that has affected every aspect of our lives, and one that has revealed the fragility of our interdependence with nature,” she remarked; that as forests are destroyed, not only are wild animals endangered and ecosystems weakened, but humans become exposed to unknown infectious agents that can threaten their lives.

“The current climate emergency and other environmental sustainability crises are the product of human behavior. The collective activities of human beings have altered the earth’s ecosystem to the extent that our very survival is threatened,” she said; that the change is becoming more rapid, dramatic, visible and difficult to reverse every day.

“Two-thirds of the 1 degree Celsius global temperature increase in the past 100 years has occurred since 1975, while the amount of renewable and non-renewable resources yearly extracted globally, has doubled,” she said.

This she said is clearly evident that unprecedented and dramatic changes are taking place and that humankind is directly responsible.

Dr. Dawda Badjie, Deputy Executive Director from the National Environment Agency (NEA), said whatever is done to address the issue of climate change in the country, cannot be overemphasized.

“Climate change is a global challenge of which the Gambia is no exception. The impact of climate change is felt all over the world and the Gambia is no exception,” he said.

Badjie said it is important to know that the issue of climate change is a challenge for humankind and most of the problems associated with it are done by people.

Accordingly, they said the project will focus on sensitizing women and youth on the reality of climate change by using scientific evidence backed by the presence of the current physical environment in comparison to the past in relation to agriculture productivity and other factors that have direct effect on climate change.