APP: Could you please introduce yourself and the organization (when was established, how many people involved, etc.) you work in?
Lamin Jammeh: We are young and energetic environmental activists from the Gunjur community, The Gambia. Previously, we were acting as individuals, but when we recognized that we have the same mission, we came together as an organization to accomplish our mission collectively. We are the ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN GROUP/GUNJUR established in 2014 and the group has thirty active members of which seventeen are males and thirteen are females, and about ten are students.
APP: What is the mission of your organization?
Lamin Jammeh: Our mission is to PRESERVE NATURE AND COMBAT THE CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS.
APP: Can you please outline more specifically what are the major areas of environmental protection your organization is concerned about?
Lamin Jammeh: Our main priorities are: planting more and more trees within the community, embarking on cleansing services, and sensitizing our community on climate change and its impacts.
APP: What are the initiatives your organization implemented/is going to implement in The Gambia? What are the main environmental problems The Gambia is now facing?
Lamin Jammeh: Initially we implemented tree planting by reforesting one of the community forest, which was on the verge of dying. We relocate dumping sites which were at almost at the center of the community and we also sensitize the community on preserving the natural environment through radio talk show, drama, workshops and poetry and this is/shall be implemented in The Gambia. The Gambia is now facing deforestation and sand mining as the main environmental problems.
APP: You have mentioned, that one of the problems your organization is combatting, is the climate change. How does the climate change affect Gunjur?
Lamin Jammeh: Yes, our organization has observed low rate of rainfall, there are certain insects that attack our garden fruits and vegetables and we are experiencing an extreme hotness of the weather. These are the results of the climate change.
APP: What has been your greatest success so far?
Lamin Jammeh: The reforestation of one of a nearly dead forest, planting trees in various areas of Gunjur, planting mangroves, relocating the biggest dumping site from the center of our community, and raising awareness within the community about the impact of climate change are some of our greatest successes so far.
APP: What challenges does your organization encounter through your environmental work?
Lamin Jammeh: The biggest challenge our organization encountered/encountering through our environmental activism is how to change the attitude of the community towards the forest, plants and also towards sand mining. The authorities are not listening to our complains about the environmental degradation made by the sand-mining, and they are all responsible for ensuing environmental destruction.
APP: What provides the motivation in implementing the environmental projects in spite of the challenges?
Lamin Jammeh: It is a divine job and it shall be a legendary and provide employment.
APP: Is the people’s perceptions on environmental protection, in your view, changing?
Lamin Jammeh: Yes, people’s perceptions indeed are changing on environmental protection, definitely.
APP: Does your organization engage with the ministerial level? If yes, how?
Lamin Jammeh: Yes, we do engage. Normally we inform the ministry of forestry about some of our activities before we carry them out. For example, before we go for field-inspection and bush patrolling to hunt for the illegal tree fellers, we seek permission or authorization from the relevant authorities. The organization is registered under attorney general’s chambers.
APP: What are the policies implemented by the Government you are in favor, and which policies you as a member of Environmental Concern Group are against?
Lamin Jammeh: We very much favour the policy of protecting the forests of The Gambia, but we are strongly critical of the decision to permit the mining of the sand in the coastal zone of the country.
APP: What environmental message would your organization like to spread across The Gambia? What values do you would like to promote?
Lamin Jammeh: Our environmental message to the people of The Gambia is NATURE PRESEVATION IS A LIFE PRESERVATION. We need and we want to protect a HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT, preserving nature means preserving our future, our well-being and our way of life.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
[amazon_link asins=’B003RJVLJA,B002DXRJBA,B003E155D4,B01BT4DXZE,B00BY1WN3Q,B01F8PC1TY,B00JY9OGXA,B00509SQ3O,B00DQ7TDD4′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’africanpoli00-21′ marketplace=’IT’ link_id=’a513d900-775b-11e7-bf84-e1ebd38307d7′]