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Strengthening Community Resilience Through Ecotourism

COMCEC (Cooperation for Development) funded an Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) Programme, that will assist with building an understanding of Community Resilience and underpin The People’s Coast; a wider initiative of international importance.

Uppermost are the objectives of creating models of community resilience overlaying a further goal of developing a showpiece of ecotourism that demonstrates how tourism can be of benefit to local communities. Through creating resilience in the environment, the local economy and social structures, it is anticipated that it is possible to honour community traditions and culture at the same time as building capacity at local level in order for communities to be involved in their own development.

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This second EDE in The Gambia had 35 participants, and was supported by the graduates of the 2014 programme. This group was complemented by the arrival of an International Faculty from Zimbabwe, Egypt, Canada and USA, who were there for varying periods through the programme and played an important role in delivery; such as Jillian Hovey, Daniel Greenberg, Mongy El Mohammed, Mugove Walter Kyika. The course was also attended by John Gomez, the world’s first Alkalo (village head) who committed to work with the other Alkalis in the People’s Coast to take the concepts forward.

COMCEC funded the participation of delegates from two other COMCEC countries, which meant that 6 people from Senegal and 2 from Guinea-Bissau were also able to join the programme. These countries share the wider bio-region and their participation added a deeper richness and set the scene for further joint initiatives in the future.

The graduation was a well attended event with dignitaries from all of the villages, representatives of the Ministry and Tourism Board along with participant’s family members. The whole event was televised and broadcast twice on the nation-wide Gambia Radio and Television Network.

Read the full report of the EDE here.