Introduction The UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) represents an extraordinary variety of schools from the different continents. It is one of the flagship projects of UNESCO. The Gambia is home to twenty-two ASPnet schools that are located in the both the rural and urban areas of the country.
In partnership with the National Environment Agency (NEA), through the UNESCO Adaptation to Coastal and Climate Change project (ACCP) the ASPnet is actively involved in SANDWATCH activities. In the past, The Gambia ASPnet supported all the associated schools along the coastal regions registered under the SANDWATCH by reinforcing their response to some contemporary challenges for ESD through this project.
The Gambia and the National Commission for UNESCO in collaboration with the Banjul City Council embarked on the cleansing of the Banjul beach. The area covered by this activity is nearly 2 kilometres stretch spanning from the Statehouse beach front to the NATCOM office. The national stakeholders including personnel of the Gambia Navy were invited.
The exercise attracted over 2000 people including the Deputy Mayor, Mrs Amie Sillah (deputising for the Lord Mayor), staff of the National Commission for UNESCO, representatives of the Office of the President, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture among other stakeholders in the hotel industry. The turn out from the aforementioned and the community-based groups such as women and youth of Banjul was massive. All the 15 ASPnet schools in the Greater Banjul positively responded to this call and all the newspaper houses - eight of them covered the event as well as the Gambia Radio and Television Services. The National television broadcast the event during its 20.00 and 22.00 hours newscast.
The Sandwatch Goals in The Gambia
The long-term goal was to have SANDWATCH activities integrated into the school curriculum so that it becomes a flagship project in this decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014 and post 2015.
To develop sustainable approaches to address the problems and conflicts facing our beaches.
For students, teachers and the community members to learn and work together to critically evaluate the problems and conflict facing their beaches environments.
To share information on SANDWATCH Methods of Monitoring and Analyzing data gathered on the beach environment.
To involve schools, teachers and students, in scientific observation, measurement and analysis of beaches using an inter-disciplinary approach e.g. Language, Arts, Biology, Geography, History, Creative arts etc.
To assist Teachers and Students, with the help of local communities, in applying their information and knowledge to the wise management and enhancement of their beaches.
To reduce the level of pollution in adjoining seas, oceans, creeks and rivers.
The Sandwatch Banjul Beach Clean-up, April 12, 2014