By Ndey Sowe
West African Birds Study Association (WABSA) has recently launched a two-year “Grand Saloum Mangrove Project” in Mendy-Kunda in Lower Niumi District, North Bank Region.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, the executive director for WABSA, Lamin Jobateh, said the project was funded by the European Union (EU) and the Nature Community Development (NCD).
According to Jobate, WABSA is the leading applicant for the project in the country while NCD in Senegal is the co-applicant, adding that the project will be implemented in Niumi Biosphere Reserve.
“The aim of the project is to restore the mangrove ecosystem from Saloum to Benin Republic and as much as we restore the wetland, upland is also important,” Jobateh explained.
Jobateh said they cannot do restoration fully without addressing the livelihood of the community. He said part of the project is to promote SMEs and train them on packaging, marketing and processing for their products.
As part of the launching ceremony, four motor bicycles were donated to both WABSA and NCD- two to each (WABSA and NCD), giant computers, laptops among others.
WABSA boss said they are expected to plant 300,000 mangrove propagules during the two year life span of the two-year project. He thus called on the beneficiary communities to take ownership of the project.
The ceremony was graced by Niumi National Park Manager, Mr. Sarjo Manneh, Alkalo of Mendy-Kunda, Mamadou Mendy, and Alkalo of Medina Kanuma, Alhagi Munirou Nyang. Both spoke about the importance of mangrove propagules.
They applauded WABSA and EU for bringing an important project to their communities which they described as timely.
They assured those present that they will take good care of the project, saying if the project succeeds; the benefit will be ploughed back to their communities.