“Our daily experience in this community as farmers cannot be expressed in words. During the rainy seasons, our lives are altered due to climate hazards and our agricultural produce is greatly affected…” These were the words of Kebba Tob, the Alkalo of Basik- a remote community found in the North Bank Region. This puts into perspective the daily experience of a number of communities and thousands of people heavily sustained by agriculture in The Gambia. Over the years, the country has seen numerous disputes over land issues in various communities that have caused massive disruption and unrest in addition to the hazards caused by climate change.
Following a consultation with communities, members and government officials in various settlements to foster peaceful co-existence and strengthen market linkages, the International Trade Center through our UN Peacebuilding Fund handed over 6 tricycles to 6 communities in North Bank Region, Central River Region and Upper River Region from the 1st to the 3rd of December 2020.
This handing over under the “Climate Conflict: Strengthening Community Coping Mechanisms to Mitigate Risks of Conflicts and Reduce Climate-Related Tensions in The Gambia” project is part of our efforts to enhance social cohesion between communities in conflict, ease transportation challenges faced by the community and support market linkages to improve their socio-economic development.
In the North Bank Region, where tricycles were handed over to Basik and Tambakoto, the members with broad smiles and visible hope expressed their enormous delight and aspirations for the future with these tricycles. Omar Sabally a farmer from Tambakoto speaking at the handing over said “these tricycles are a blessing to us. The problems it will deliver us, our women and children from is gratifying. When we harvest our produce every year, we experience great loss because we cannot transport them to the main markets for sale”.
On the 2nd of December, somewhere a few kilometers away from the Chief’s residence in the North Bank Region, we were in the Governor’s residence in the Central River Region to hand over 2 more tricycles to the communities of Sambang Fula and Sambang Mandinka. These two communities have been fighting over a land issue for decades now. During the handing over, in addition to the great impact the tricycles will have in their socio-economic growth, Haddy Camara a gardener from Sambang Fulakunda spoke about the importance of the tricycles to the women of the community. In addition to the agricultural development and market linkages, Haddy shared “these tricycles are of great benefit to us the women. We have had heinous experiences with transportation especially for pregnant women. We have lost many lives due to the lack of proper transportation to the health facilities which has affected our human capital and production capacity at the community”.
In the Upper River Region, where the tension around land disputes is still considered rough, we handed over 2 tricycles to the communities of Waliba Kunda and Piraitenda. These 2 communities were sighted supporting each other to operate the tricycles and the Alkolos sharing pleasantries and ways to collaborate in the future.
We left all communities with great fulfillment and hopes that peace will reign again. At the International Trade Center we believe in harnessing the skills and improving the socio-economic capital of communities to combat climate change and foster peaceful co-existence. One community at a time, we are committed to restore hope and smiles in lands where this has become foreign.
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