Against the odds
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CTA. 2002. Against the odds. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/3. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57257
In The Gambia?s Kombo district land-grabbing for settlement is the norm. However, one community has stood against this, asserting their traditional rights to their forest, and carrying out extensive conservation work to preserve it for future generations.
Against the odds CUE: In The Gambia?s Kombo district, land-grabbing for settlement purposes is the order of the day. Yet one community there has gone against all the odds. With assistance and support from the Department of Forest Services, they have claimed their rights to their traditional forest, and resolved to preserve it for future generations. Two years ago the Jabang Kunda clan created the Falaa Community Forest Park, a protected area of about four square kilometres. They also established a management committee to enforce rules about how the forest could be used. Now the entire clan, young and old, men and women, are involved in management and conservation of the park, and those who break the rules are fined. Ismaila Senghore spoke to Momodou Bojang, the head of the management committee, about why the clan had decided to claim their rights, and how they are both using the forest and protecting it for the future. IN: ?We are right here in ? OUT: ? benefit of our future generation. DUR?N 4?33? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Ismaila Senghore reporting from The Gambia. Transcript Senghore We are right here in the Falaa Community Forest Park, and it is situated just about a kilometre or so in the outskirts of the village of Jamburr, towards the west. This place, just the air that you breathe in here, and the trees that you see around, and of course the singing birds will tell you it is a natural forest that really needs preservation. I think this is one of the reasons that might have lead the Jabang Kunda clan to conserve this forest of theirs. But as we have Mr. Momodou Bojang, who is the head of the management team here, I would like to ask him some of the reasons that lead the clan to conserve this forest. Mr. Bojang. Bojang [Vernac.] We were greatly inspired to take up this community forest initiative, because if you look at our environment, the natural forest is dying out completely, and we should try to conserve that little remaining natural forest that we have, at least for the benefit of our future children. That being the case, this has motivated us to do all that we can to make sure that natural things in the forest, such as animals, which our forefathers were seeing, and ourselves are seeing, to make sure that they still remain in the forest for the benefit of our children in the future. Senghore What conservation and management practices do you carry out on the forest? Bojang [Vernac.] First of all, we make all effort to make sure that the forest is being protected against fire by making a firebelt around the forest. Senghore How do you ensure that whatever you extract from the forest, you replace adequately, to ensure the regeneration and conservation of the forest? Bojang [Vernac.] After cutting some trees we replace them with beneficial trees such as malaina, mahogany and other trees, to replace them in the forest. Senghore What are the resources that you expect this forest can generate when it is in full operation? Bojang [Vernac] In the long run, if the forest is well developed in the future, when all animals and birds, some tree species and wild fruits will be available in the forest, and that can encourage eco-tourism in the area, and in our community in particular. Senghore Now what kind of support have you received from either government, or from whatever source it might have come from? Bojang [Vernac.] The Department of Forestry do assist us in bringing seedlings, malaina seedlings, cashew-nut seedlings and also in providing us with some skills and techniques in how to bring up a community forest, during the process. Senghore How far do you think you reserve the rights of ownership of your forest, and how does that right affect your inspiration in your management activities? Bojang [Vernac.] With the concept of community forest, the land belongs to the community of Jamburr, and more so to our clan, and this has been testified by our surrounding people, all confirm that this land belongs to us. It has been documented by the Department of Forestry Services that the land belongs to us as a community forest. This has encouraged us as we are now assured of the total ownership of the land, and we now embark on developing the land to make it a successful community forest. Senghore Finally Mr. Bojang, do you think others would like to emulate your example because of your success? Bojang The only advice I would have for the entire country and the community at large is, let everyone endeavour to at least make sure that we conserve the little remaining forest that we have in our environment, for the benefit of our future generation. End of track.