The Bakau Environmental Project update March 2019

Work has started on a significant project to reduce Malaria in The Gambia thanks to the Rotary Club of Milton Keynes Grand Union (MKGU). Work has now started on the project to reduce Maleria

Several years ago the Oasis Project in the Gambia (which runs a school in the village of Bakau) identified the need to repair and replace the flood drainage in the village in order to reduce the incidence of Malaria and to improve the environment.

The bad flooding occurs in each rainy season and brings with it disease and even crocodiles roaming the streets in which young children play. 

Members of MKGU went out in 2016 to see the village and to assess the needs. The state of the old and defunct drainage appalled those who saw it. Whilst they were there, the members attended a series of meetings with local officials and community representatives who assured them that the drains would be properly maintained. An education programme to help the local community understand how to look after the environment and carry out maintenance was critical to the project. 

Members of MKGU also visited a local Crocodile Park in Bakau where crocodiles roam free and when the streets are flooded are able to swim out of the park! Normally these ‘crocs’ are well fed and do not cause a problem, but a little concerning nevertheless. ‘We saw crocodiles lying under some washing on a line and I for one would not like to be the one collecting it in when it was dry.’ said Mike Rhodes.

In Bakau which has high unemployment, it was felt that it was important to employ local people in constructing the new drains, engage the community in the project and promote local ownership.

It has taken a couple of years for MKGU Rotary Club to raise £13,000 for this major project and get it started. Matched funding from Rotary Foundation means that about $40,000 (US) is being spent on phase one.  

MKGU Rotary Club meets every Thursday and if you would like to know more about the club please write to mike@coactionmanagement.co.uk or visit the website http://www.rotary-ribi.org/clubs/homepage.php?ClubID=1774

The Lord Mayor visits the site

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