On 14 January 2022, the British High Commission in Banjul hosted the launch of a new Circular Economy Network in The Gambia. Led by UK waste management NGO WasteAid, and funded by the UK’s Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, the Circular Economy Network will help improve the way resources and wastes are managed in The Gambia, preventing pollution and supporting livelihoods in a green economy.
At the launch event, H.E. Lamin Dibba, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change introduced the initiative, saying:
“This Circular Economy Network will support our national green recovery initiative, protect natural resources and prevent climate emissions. Importantly, it will raise the profile of sustainable resource management and provide a platform for national stakeholders and waste managers in the UK to collaborate.”
Currently, resources are used in a linear fashion and soon become waste, which can pollute the ground, air and water courses and impact people’s health. By shifting to a more circular economy, valuable resources can be kept in use for longer, providing livelihood opportunities and enabling The Gambia to become more self-sufficient and resilient to climate change.
WasteAid will be sharing recycling knowledge and skills, training 30 vulnerable people to generate income from wastes, and supporting local innovation through seed funding and business support to a circular economy enterprise.
The launch event was also attended by Deputy Mayor Binta Janneh-Jallow of Kanifing Municipal Council, who said:
“An important facet of this new Circular Economy Network project will be support for Gambian innovation to reduce, reuse and recycle different waste materials. Recycling provides livelihood opportunities by turning waste into a resource and benefitting all aspects of society.”
The aim of this initiative is to establish a professional network of people and organisations in The Gambia who can support each other in the development of a circular economy, and is sustained after the project completes.
British High Commissioner David Belgrove has been very supportive of WasteAid and is well-aware of the need for improved waste management.
Mr Belgrove commented: “We were pleased to host the launch of this Circular Economy Network project led by WasteAid, which will add to the momentum that has already built up for a green recovery here in The Gambia. WasteAid and British waste management professionals will be sharing their experience and expertise with Gambian counterparts, further strengthening the ties between our two countries.”
Circular Economy Network members will be able to access training and take part in knowledge sharing sessions alongside experienced waste managers from the UK. Network activities will assist with regional and cross-sector cooperation, to help Government Ministries, Councils, businesses and community-based organisations work together to progress sustainable waste management in The Gambia.
Ceris Turner-Bailes, CEO of WasteAid added: “WasteAid has been active in The Gambia since 2015 and the country remains at the heart of WasteAid’s work. The Gambia has some significant waste management challenges, but there are also ambitious policymakers, committed councils and an engaged civil society willing to deliver the change that is needed.
“That is why, when the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management expressed a desire to support our work, The Gambia was our top priority. We are looking forward to engaging with stakeholders in The Gambia and the UK on this unique initiative to support the development of a professional waste management sector and drive for a more circular economy.”
Adam Read, President of the UK’s Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, which is funding the Circular Economy Network in The Gambia said: “The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) is delighted to see this exciting partnership spring to life, and we look forward to playing an active role in delivering increasingly sustainable waste management practices in the Greater Banjul Area of The Gambia. The provision of funding for this large-scale delivery project demonstrates our continued commitment to advancing waste and resource management capability and enabling the transition to more circular economies across the globe.”
WasteAid welcomes all interested parties to join the Circular Economy Network, and will be promoting activities through a communications campaign. Please contact WasteAid’s Project Coordinator in The Gambia, via [email protected].
Written by Zoë Lenkiewicz