By Olimatou Coker
The City Link Ostend Banjul Project Funded by the European Union has recently trained 120 cleansing service workers of BCC on waste management, safety and hygiene and first Aid at a training held at McCarthy Square.
The primary objective is to equip cleansing service workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively manage waste, ensuring a clean and healthier environment for the city residents.
The training includes modules on occupational safety measures, personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, and basic first aid procedures.
Peter Vanslambrouck, the City Link Ostend Coordinator, said training for staff is key for every organization. “It’s important if you do things that you know why you should do them. You do them the right thing, that you are properly equipped with the things that you need to do your job. That is a safe environment to work in. So protective gears, they go hand in hand with good training, they go hand in hand with the proper communication. Also very happy that in this whole training they can work together with a very reliable partner like Mbolo has proven in the past, that they have all the knowledge on boards to give proper training and that they can communicate in a proper way with staff with different backgrounds. I’m very happy about that. Also very happy that we have the Gambia Red Cross society on boards. Within this program, it’s important if there is a small thing happening, health issues that people have some awareness about first aid. This is also integrated into training, which is of course very welcomed.”
He said people working for cleansing service are exposed to some dangerous situations. “So therefore, it’s very important that they give them priority also to good health and it will be translated in a medical checkup of these staff workers. Which is definitely very nice. And also vaccination programs on tuberculosis and tetanus.
“I think this is a great opportunity. And I really hope that they’re all people from the cleansing service and the staff. We can improve their working conditions in the future and we can be an ongoing process.”
Malang Sambou, co-founder of Mbolo Association, said: “Gambia is a little country, but we have big potential, we can do it together. That means at least the knowledge that we achieve, we will be able to transfer it.”
He said the main issue in the country is the waste. “You need to really take care of health and safety. That is the number one, whether you are an installer or you are working in that sector. So I think it is really a great thing that we see the people who are here. They are well valued, they are the people in the forefront that’s supposed to be taken care of. And then if you are healthy we have a healthy community you will be able to take care of the people”
He added that this training could not come at a better time than now. “So we hope that all the materials that have been delivered, and then the training, knowledge is well integrated within yourself and you’re able to practice it very well. The communication which is supposed to be done when there is any health is able to communicate directly to people who are responsible in order to take care of you.”
“We think that your life matters a lot to people walking down there for the benefit of everybody in this country. We hope to work together in order to combat little action that can really bring big action and then impact the life of the people.”
Alhagie Jah from the Cleansing Staff Association also described the training as timely, saying the training programme would go a long way in helping the participants to improve the work system, collection of waste and also care for their health.
Mr. Jah appreciated the opportunity, while assuring that his team will make good use of the gears provided and practice the skills and knowledge gained during the training.
Rohey Malick Lowe, mayor of Banjul City Council extended gratitude to the EU team and the Cleansing Service Workers, especially women who endeavor to make the environment clean. “There are risks involved in such works but you put all efforts in making sure our environment is clean,” she said.
Mayor Lowe said they are trying all means to revisit the salaries of the cleansing service workers and also doubling efforts to give them all support and proper training to help in achieving the goal of waste management.
The training program also covered various aspects including waste segregation, disposal techniques, recycling methods, and sustainable practices.