Commonwealth: Gambia-Commonwealth Focal Person Shares Office Activities in The Gambia
Thursday, 01 October | GunjurOnline
The Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC) focal person for the Gambia Mr. Badara Bajo has divulged information to GunjurOnline on the activities of his Organization in the country saying it is a UK-registered International Development Charity as it is part of the commonwealth body working with local communities and international institutions across the commonwealth for environmental and social issues for human betterment.
He said that, it was a bit rocky with tumbling blocks during the negotiations to actually open the Gambia Chapter but with determination there was a breakthrough noting that the organization principles of governance are democratic values within member countries saying it was never part of the commonwealth menu during the Jammeh era to establish a chapter in the country. “Due to this, we narrowed the activities to my local environmental NGO GEPAGDG.” he added.
In 2001 we were ordered by the former Assistant Commissioner of West Coast Region for a temporal closure of GEPADG office which lasted two days after which they kicked us out of the former cooperative premises in central Gunjur accusing us as opposition to then Jammeh government so we had to look for another new office said Mr. Bajo.
He noted that, in 2009, he attended the Commonwealth Forestry Conference where he lobbied for the organization’s West Africa Mangrove Project on the sidelines of the event with Ian Douglas of the university of Manchester which was successful saying we successfully conducted a three day (3) commonwealth west Africa mangrove workshop at the Gunjur Beach funded by the commonwealth for a quick implementation of west Africa branch of the organization mangrove project in 2013.
Unfortunately, he said that, in the same year 2013, the Gambia was to benefit a much bigger project that would have create numerous employment opportunities but the country was single handedly pulled out of the commonwealth by the former dictator Yahya Jammeh, adding this saw the arrival of the GEF and World Bank council meeting in Washington DC with the anticipation of a bigger project but it all went into more of a fiasco. “Back to square one again and again.” he sadly stated.
Mr. Bajo continued that, the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council is open to partnership with people and organizations anywhere around the world as they share their ethos and objectives saying it is an accredited organization by the United Nations through the Economic and Social Council of the Commonwealth Secretariat (ECOSOC), noting that organization has several chapters in several member countries like the one in the Gambia where they are implementing environmentally friendly projects to enhance job opportunities and sustainable developments in the Gambia. “The targets are environmental capacity building, mangrove nurturing, social and human betterment with sustainable development programs.” he asserted.
The conscious environmental advocate, highlighted that right from the onset he has been promoting ecotourism services, environmental protection and sustainable development activities as him and his team of volunteers were able to restore certain areas before the unilateral withdrawal of the Gambia from the commonwealth in 2013.
The speaking international body focal person for the Gambia stated that his office has successfully implemented several projects saying the CHEC has a long history of implanting projects on the environment, urban resilience, local communities and others.” CHEC team of experts including me is constantly working to keep up to date with all current and relevant information pertinent to the ecology and more.” he noted.
However, there are challenges as he didn’t waste time to relate them to GunjurOnline saying the global pandemic of the corona virus has delayed the implementation of some of their projects such as the 54th Commonwealth Heads of Governments meeting scheduled to take place in Kigali Rwanda has been postponed until 2021 as well as some sudden changes of governments in some members nations but argued that the latter has significantly dropped as the commonwealth has made some giant strides in building democratic institutions in many commonwealth countries.