By Mariam Sankanu
Bullock village in Foni Berefet, West Coast Region, was all green after a tree planting exercise last Saturday.
Over three thousand trees were planted as Bullock Kaponga Youth Development Association, in partnership with Global Youth Innovation Network, GYIN celebrated International Youth Day.
Youth day is an awareness day designated by the UN meant to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.
Mamadou Edrissa Njie, executive director of GYIN and Youth of the Year award winner, threw some light on the importance of planting trees and why they felt the need to embark on such exercise.
“Tree planting exercise is very important to us. This is not a short-term program but long-term. We care about sustainability.
Seventy years ago, places like the North Bank Region, they were not having any problem when it comes to deforestation. But today, when you go to NBR, they are facing deforestation. Based on our findings, we thought it is good for us to come together as a youth organisation to start tree planting to protect our environment,” he said.
This year’s youth day was celebrated under the theme Safe Spaces For Youths, and Mr Njie added: “We want youths to have spaces when it comes to environment matters, we want youths to have spaces when it comes to climate change adaptations, mitigation, as well as in the protection of the environment.”
Sunkary Badjie, National Assembly Member for Foni Berefet District, called on other youth groups in The Gambia to follow the footsteps of the Kaponga youths.
He emphasised the common belief that youths are the backbone of any country, and as such, only they can bring about meaningful development and agriculture, he said specifically, is one serious way of taking a country forward.
Scores of young people of the village, most of whom are residing in different parts of the country, travelled to take part in the exercise.
Kaponga secretary Sarjo Jarjue, said the association has done “so many good” things in the village.
Saturday’s exercise marked the third year since the association began joining the rest of the world to mark the youth day, and the second tree planting exercise.
The vibrant youths said they remain committed to continuing the trend in order to protect the environment from the hazards it is faced with.