-As It Commemorates Mandela Day

By Saikou Suwareh Jabai

The American Corner, under the auspices of the American Embassy, has on Tuesday 18th July, 2017, planted about 50 seedlings at Kunkujang Keitaya Upper Basic School.

The event, organized in collaboration with the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), was held in commemoration of the Mandela Day.

Five watering canes and two bags of fertilizers were donated to the school to enable the students take good care of the seedlings planted.

Alieu Jaiteh, the President of the IVLP, spoke about the need for stakeholders to prioritize environmental security. He said Nelson Mandela selflessly served Africa and that there is no better to celebrate him than doing a community service for the environment. While thanking participants for attending, he said planting trees will help to save the earth.

Public Affairs Officer at the American Embassy, Janel M. Heird, said the tree planting initiative is organized to commemorate Mandela Day. The event, she added, brought together network members of the Young Africans Leadership Initiative (YALI) for a joint community service.

Picture: Janel M. Heird

She said the program seeks to plant trees and raise the awareness of participants on pertinent environmental issues like climate change. She hopes that the trees, with time, will be able to provide food, shade and eventually contribute in offsetting the carbon emissions.

Momodou Bah, the American Corner Coordinator, expressed delight with the turnout of the participants and described the tree planting a success. While thanking the school for hosting the event, Bah, who doubles as the Coordinator of IVLP, urged the school administration to ensure that the seedlings are taken good care of as they have put monitoring mechanisms in place to measure the impact of the initiative.

The Secretary General of the IVLP, Sheikh Omar Sillah, described the event as timely, saying trees increase the number of barriers to wind, which in turn reduce soil erosion, and destruction of crops and property.

The Principal of Kunkujang Keitaya Upper Basic School, Ebrima Janneh, thanked the organizers for choosing their school and assured that the students will take care of the students. He said the trees will go a long way in protecting and promoting the school’s environment.

Over the last few years, the forest cover and number of trees in The Gambia has significantly reduced. This has resulted in loss of biodiversity and severe land degradation due to soil erosion and loss of fertility. Our areas which used to be very fertile are now barren and the overall agricultural productivity has declined dramatically which is pushing people deeper into poverty.


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