The Gambia is hosting an international seminar on rural resilience and community waste management from 25th – 30th April 2017.

Organised jointly by the Arkleton Trust and WasteAid UK, the event will involve communities from The Gambia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria and India.

In addition, more than 30 local participants from the host community in Gunjur will be sharing their experience of innovative projects and good practice in community resilience.

WasteAid UK and other recycling specialists will be sharing recycling skills such as making charcoal from woody waste, fertiliser from food waste, and construction materials from plastic waste. WasteAid UK previously set up the Brikama Waste Reprocessing Centre in 2016 in partnership with Women’s Initiative The Gambia and is currently developing a Guide to Community Waste Management, which will be reviewed by seminar participants.


Kebba K. Barrow  Adviser, Gunjur Youth Development Program said they have benefitted from support from the Arkleton Trust over recent years and are pleased to be able to provide our expertise in return, sharing skills and knowledge with people from across Africa and beyond.

“This will be a very interesting event for everyone involved and we hope to achieve more positive outcomes for the people of Gunjur and rural communities further afield” he noted.

Focusing on community resilience, the first part of the seminar will encourage attendees to share their experiences and good practice in anticipating risk, limiting impact, and ways to survive, adapt and grow stronger.

Nicola Swan of the Arkleton Trust, an expert in rural development and knowledge exchange, said the seminar will provide a creative space for grassroots community practitioners, leaders and policy makers to come together and share experiences and knowledge, and to learn from each other.

“The ingenuity of communities to succeed is profound and many communities have addressed issues in innovative ways.  Lack of infrastructure and other systemic issues remain a challenge though, and for this reason, we will be inviting a few policy makers and academics to benefit from the opportunity to hear things ‘from the horse’s mouth”.

The second part of the seminar will cover waste management as a key tool for resilient communities. Waste that is not managed can become a hazard for people and wildlife. With simple recycling skills, however, people can keep their communities clean, create jobs and earn an income.

Mike Webster of WasteAid UK said: “Improving waste management is vital for communities to prosper and stay healthy. The event will allow skill sharing between community waste managers located in geographically diverse parts of sub-Saharan Africa, and will help WasteAid UK improve the techniques that turn waste into an economic opportunity”.

The Arkleton Trust has a tradition of holding seminars to bring together individuals involved in rural development to share ideas usually on a particular theme or current issue.  In the last few years Arkleton has been funding ‘exchanges of knowledge’ between different community organisations, many of which are based in Africa.

In the last year, through some of these exchanges of knowledge, a link was made with WasteAid UK and it was agreed to join together to create two back-to-back events involving rural practitioners, policymakers and academics.  Waste management is particularly relevant for remote communities as it is at the heart of sustainable living.