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26 Apr 2021

WasteAid awarded EU funding for climate resilience in The Gambia

WasteAid, the UK-based international NGO that shares waste management and recycling skills around the world, has been awarded €100,000 by the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Initiative (GCCA+), funded by the European Union, to deliver a climate resilient coastal and marine zone project for The Gambia.

The 12-month project will see WasteAid work in partnership with Kanifing Municipal Council to set up food waste collection from markets and transport the material to women’s gardens. Here, WasteAid’s long-term local partner Women’s Initiative The Gambia, will train the women gardeners to make compost, biochar and charcoal briquettes.

Mayor Bensouda of Kanifing Municipal Council commented: “Creating new pathways for sustainable resource management will accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. By diverting biodegradable waste from Bakoteh dumpsite and using it to enhance agricultural practices, this project will contribute to a green economy and provide inclusive opportunities, particularly for women.”

Ceris Turner-Bailes, WasteAid CEO, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Kanifing Municipal Council to help recover organic waste and transform it into useful products. This project will contribute to a circular bioeconomy and support livelihoods for women micro-entrepreneurs the greater Banjul area. This exciting project builds on WasteAid’s previous work in The Gambia and will contribute to the country’s green recovery.”

Waste management has become a concern to communities living within the coastal zone. This is compounded by the increasing socio-economic and demographic pressure on the coastal area of the Gambia. As a result, improper waste disposal practices have become a threat to public and environmental health.

Improving waste management is a priority for Kanifing Municipal Council, and in 2019 it rolled out the country’s first household waste collection service. WasteAid undertook the first waste composition analysis in The Gambia in 2015 and since then has delivered projects funded by UK Aid and corporate donors, creating livelihood opportunities in vulnerable communities by recovering the value in waste.

This new project, led by WasteAid with funding from the European Union, will reduce pressure on the main city’s dumpsite by collecting food waste from markets and transferring it to women’s gardens, where community-based organisation and long-time partner of WasteAid, Women’s Initiative The Gambia, will train the gardeners to make compost, biochar and charcoal briquettes.

Angela McDermott, WasteAid Head of Programmes and Impact, added: “This project will raise awareness and understanding among market vendors, residents and women gardeners of the value in biodegradable waste. By making soil amendments and a sustainable cooking fuel, the women gardeners will benefit from improved livelihoods, while protecting climate-vulnerable soils, and reducing pressure on local forests for firewood.”

Composting food waste will return nutrients to the soil and improve water retention, and the production of biochar is an emerging as an impactful approach to carbon sequestration. Charcoal briquettes, made from woody waste including groundnut (peanut) and coconut shells, offer a low-smoke sustainable cooking fuel alternative to timber and charcoal sourced from the fragile Casamance forest.

The project will accelerate progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, by creating jobs in the green economy, preserving natural resources, recycling waste and enhancing public health.