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Environmental Protection and Development Group -Gambia
Starting in 1992, The environmental protection and development group is an organization focused on alleviating and educating the environmental problems facing the local communities in Gambia, mostly concerning deforestation and the mining or exploitation of natural resources. Mr. Badara N Bajo is the Director and the founder, Mr. Ousman Sanneh the Senior Warden, and Mr. Pa Ebrima Kunta the Chairman.
An important focus of activities is that of educating the local population. Members of the group do this by door to door visits, radio programs, and community workshops.
There are several obstacles that confront the efforts of EPDG, and in general, this area of work.
- Laws and Government
- There are often policies that conflict with the implementation of projects, although the group has had some success at changing policies at the local level. Often even if laws are in place that favor their work, there is not effective law enforcement to protect and carry through those laws.
- Finding funds to support outreach and implementation is always a challenge. Projects tend to deteriorate rapidly after the funds run out.
- Communicating well with the local community is difficult. To disseminate information effectively and efficiently is an ongoing challenge. Varying levels of education add to the challenge.
- Protecting and monitoring project sites efficiently is difficult as this often cost money. Also geographically the land is within easy access to the local population, who, for example come and cut trees.
Despite the many challenges, EPDG celebrates several successes. Their projects have made headway in combating destructive activities such as deforestation, illegal turtle hunting and sand mining.
- Establishing Community and Protected Forests
- They established the first community wildlife reserve, 8 community forests, and a beekeeping center. In response to a project carried out by EDGP, crocodiles, antelopes, hyenas and monkeys have begun to return to an area that was losing its ecosystem services and health.
- EPDG planted 1 million mangroves in 2010 at the border of the Casamance (southern Senegal). Dying mangroves is a serious threat to the ecosystem and to the resources that many depend upon in the region. With their reforestation activities, native species are planted. Species such as ironwood, rosewood, mahogany, gymanina and various fruit trees are planted.
- Community Mobilization
- EPDG has led various workshops with the community in the areas of environmental health and sanitation. They host several community activities such as tree planting, beekeeping and beach clean-up.
- Students of local schools come and participate in projects and learn about environmental and natural resource management.
- Radio programs have been a big help to educate the community as well as notify them of upcoming activities.
- Policy change
- The group has had some success in convincing local authorities to change certain policies that are not in favor of the community and environment.
- Sustainable Tourism
- As more and more opportunities are created in Gambia for sustainable tourism EPDG takes part in this growing sector; funds generated by nature walks and guides are used to sustain ongoing project.
- Volunteers are welcome, and are sought out. Contact the group for more information.
EPDG is interested in improving their tree planting activities by introducing the 'replacing system', where the local community takes on the habit of planting a tree after cutting one. They are also interested in exploring the benefits of planting and using the jatropha tree.
More info and contacts can be found at the organizations websites: