Gambia — Jarra Pakiliba in the Lower River Region was the recent scene of commemoration of the National Bush Fire Day, under the theme: “The crying voice of the forest.”
The acting-Director of Forestry Department has underscored the important role his department attaches to building partnership with the private sector and civil society in protecting the forest from destruction and promoting the agenda of anti-bush fire campaign.
Sambou Nget said the partnership with the Agency for the Development of Women and Children (ADWAC) clearly demonstrated its department commitment in protecting the forest against bush fire.
He asserted that the protection of the forest against bush fire and illegal logging calls for concerted efforts of all stakeholders, including the NGOs.
He said the introduction of participatory forest management is aimed at involving rural communities in forest management and protection.
Mr. Nget lauded the efforts of ADWAC in complementing the efforts of forestry department in raising public awareness, citing the recent anti-bush fire campaign in North Bank and Central River Regions. He then called on district authorities to be proactive in protecting the forest.
Chief Ansumana Kanaji of Jarra East, in his welcoming remarks, noted that it is a concern for district authorities to prosecute anyone found wanting.
He then called on the public to be vigilant against the culprits and to support district authorities in apprehending them.
A representative of LRR Governor, Lamin Saidy, who also doubles as Regional Disaster Coordinator lauded the efforts of ADWAC and Forestry Department in raising awareness on the devastating forest cover, and building community resilience in the protection of forest against bushfire.
Mr. Saidy noted that cross border intervention strategy in prevention and control of bushfire and environmental governance is crucial in the overall attainment of sustainable livelihood.
Commenting on the provision of fire-fighting equipment and motor cycle, Saidy said, it would contribute immensely in the management and control of forest resources against illegal logging.
Mamsamba Joof, the Executive Director of ADWAC, expressed delight at the partnership with the Forestry Department in the protection of the flora and fauna.
The day also accorded district chiefs the opportunity to speak at length on the position of chiefs to curb all forms of forest destruction and then called on alkalolu to widely disseminate the message.
He said the day is important in the annals of ADWAC/SAGE project, as he stated, it would contribute towards the strengthening of the community outreach and sectoral programmes.
Mr. Joof noted that the presentation of pedal bicycles, rakes, cutlasses and 3 motor cycles would promote cross border intervention in bush-fire and illegal logging
The forestry officials expressed delight at the donations of fire-fighting equipment and motor cycles.