Socio Economic Development Plans For Jinack Island
Since 2005, our collaboration with community leaders, villagers, and local craftsmen on Jinack Island in Gambia has been focused on creating, developing, and managing socio-economic development and conservation projects. Our aim is to ensure the long-term viability of the Niumi National Park and the island of Jinack while improving the economic well-being of the communities.
Improving the Economic Viability of Jinack Island Communities
To enhance natural resource management, it is crucial to improve the economic viability of the island’s communities. Most resource degradation stems from subsistence-level economic activities. Without providing alternative options to overexploitation, significant improvements in natural resource management will be challenging. Each community needs to achieve self-sufficiency in food and energy production and envision a future of surplus and ongoing improvement in their lives. This mindset will enable them to value the wider resources and plan and behave appropriately for the long term.
The natural resource management plan should include:
Improving agricultural and fisheries practices and production on the island through the adoption of new techniques and technologies.
Enhancing the efficiency of resource use, particularly wood, within the communities.
Developing new products, services, and markets that benefit the communities.
Establishing a Community Awareness Building and Training Program
Capacity-building within the communities is essential to foster an understanding of natural resources, the services they provide, and sustainable management practices. Without community members fully comprehending the value of natural resources, managing them effectively becomes challenging. Short, medium, and long-term education activities should be integrated into the natural resource management plan.
Establishing Control and Regulation of Natural Resources
When the communities recognize a better future for themselves and begin to value the wider management of their natural resources, it becomes necessary to implement controls and regulations. Success depends on community engagement and participation in wider natural resource management, including promoting and enforcing regulations themselves.
The natural resource management plan should include:
Detailed zoning of the island for different management regimes and socio-economic activities.
Fencing (and, in the long term, hedge establishment) to control stock management.
Infrastructure development for water management.
Access tracks for communities and visitors throughout the island, facilitating activities such as farming, sustainable collection of native products, and wildlife viewing.
Establishing Programs for Natural Resource Enrichment
Once the communities are motivated to manage and protect natural resources on a strategic and long-term basis, and control and regulatory mechanisms are in place, long-term enrichment programs can be implemented effectively. Enriching natural resources helps reverse past harm and leads to a more sustainable and prosperous future for the communities.
However, this process is long-term and requires significant resources and manpower. The benefits may only be realized after several years or even a generation.
It is crucial to secure funding in the medium term to support these activities, particularly to provide income for community members involved in the projects. As agricultural and fisheries production improves and new products, services, and markets generate increased income, the management of the natural resources that support these activities will become self-sustaining. This self-sustainability will ensure the continued well-being of the communities and the preservation of their natural resources for future generations.
The Natural resource management plan should include:
Native tree planting:
Establish nurseries for establishment of native tree species;
Community-scale long term agro-forestry for fuel and building wood production, using fast growing species;
Improvement of agricultural areas through tree planting to provide shelter and reduce erosion and water loss, as well as provide resources for fruit or foliage collection;
Replant native species of tree in wild habitats that are rare or provide particular benefit to wildlife; and to increase tree cover towards natural levels.
Habitat management program to improve the quality of habitats and conserve endangered species such as turtles, manatees and clawless otters;
Increasing biodiversity through manging habitats specifically for wildlife. Although high biodiversity gives little direct benefit to local communities, it is a fundamental indicator of the health of the environment and the natural resources that provide benefits for the community. High biodiversity will also improve the pest management for farmers, as well as provide a spectacle for visitors who will bring income to the island;
Establishing visitor access and interpretation;
Research, survey and monitoring:
Identify key hot-spots on the island for wildlife in general, but in particular for endangered species or species of conservation concern to:
Inform future conservation management;
Inform visitor access and interpretation;
Identify the potential for enrichment of natural resources including:
Increased potential for sustainable economic harvesting of natural products such as fruits, medicines and materials;
Identify an achievable monitoring programme to monitor success of the enrichment of natural resources; and
Carry out a programme of surveys and monitoring.