On 20 September, activists in Gambia ROSE for Mother Earth. GAMCOTRAP in collaboration with Young People Without Borders (YPWB) a youth CBO in Sifo village, and COPI, another youth organisation fron Sindian in the Republic of Senegal, engaged the youths of Sifo and Sindian in a massive tree planting exercise in the Western Region of the Gambia. Fruit trees were planted in every compound in Sifo to enhance the environment, contribute to the reduction of global warming and to also contribute to household food security of the family. When the trees mature, harvested and sold, it will add onto the family’s income level thus ease the burden of sustaining the family by providing them with basic necessities such as education for especially girls. Young girls and women dressed in their beautiful attire after the tree planting to watch a drama performance by YPWB of Sifo on the environment and climate change and forms of violence against women and girls experienced in our homes and community. Then they raised a question “WHOSE BODY MATTERS?” to be answered by the audience.
Below is a write up from One Billion Rising Coordiator Isatou Touray on the significance of the event:

The Gambia is a natural resource lock country. It is mainly depending on its river for artisanal fishing and small–scale subsistence agricultural production including poultry and small ruminant management for living. Climate change is negatively impacting on the small farmers who are suffering from experiencing draught or flooding due to the erratic and many a times unpredictable rainfall pattern. When these happens, livelihoods are shifted to the limited but fairly rich forest resources, thus cutting down of trees for timber, charcoal, firewood and sometimes clearing virgin land for more farm lands without a stringent regeneration plan. Community forest parks were introduced and many communities embark on national tree planting exercises in open forests and other designated areas but they also suffer from yearly bushfires that occur without trace and also adding its toll on the barely managed forest cover. Soon the Gambia will become a savannah categorized by annual and biannual shrubs with fewer perennial trees. Residents are now subject to harsh climate (adverse heat of extreme cold) and poor crop performance and less food for the farm family.

Young People Without Borders (YPWB) is an apolitical and non–religious youth organization that aims at improving the lives of vulnerable children and youth in Sub–Saharan Africa, specifically The Gambia and Senegal through a process of cross–cultural integration and peacebuilding. We belief that through these processes, youths will actualise their full potential thus engage in meaningful development affecting their lives. This enables YPWB to contribute in the realization of the global development objectives/goals (Millennium Development Goals –MDGs). We are trying to enforce global partnership and youth empowerment through the provision of live–skills, engage in economic security ventures and endeavoring in providing proper sanitary conditions, clean and accessible water for women and involve in activities aiming at curbing the negative effects of the climate among others.

Taking part in reversing climate change through less emission of carbon into the atmosphere by burning plastics and related materials and provide a safe environment, YPWB was engaged in building an Evian plastic water bottle house, each bottle filled with “Naan” (water plastic sachets and other related plastic materials) forming the core of the house. This sampler house is our current office in Sifo village. This is another way of managing dangerous solid waste that cause havoc to our environment generated human. Also every member of the organization planted and nurtured a tree in their homes which they can claim ownership of.

On Saturday 20th September, GAMCOTRAP in collaboration with YPWB in Sifo village, The Gambia and COPI another youth organization in Sindian in Casamance, Southern Senegal are engaged in community tree planting exercise where an orange tree was planted in every compound in Sifo village owned by the compound head and his family. The tree and all its parts belong to the family who are tasked with nurturing and caring of the tree and also protecting it from animals and other hazards. Close to five hundred orange seedlings were planted that are now safe from bush fires and can contribute to climate change

Part of the day was sunny and the evening was rainy showing how happy mother earth was.