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  • Writer's pictureJane Smith

Naturefriends International enable Senegal/Gambian pupil exchange in Janjanbureh

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

An exciting fulfilment happened this weekend in Janjanbureh.

Our PRO Justice Saidykhan reported:

“The Land Scape of the Year, a project under the auspices of Nature Friends International and their Gambian partners JUST ACT take another milestone as we introduce education in the project.

Janjanbureh Upper Basic School welcomes CEM Kumbidia Soce school in Koungel region as part of twinning the two schools in developing a strong tie between Janjanbureh (Gambia) and Koungel (Senegal) through education.

The Landscape of the Year project came as a result of nature and tourism and culture however a very important component of development "Education" is now core in the project...

20 Junior school students from Kumbijah Soce comprises the first badge of the exchange with another 20 from host school with equal representation.

Armitage School Band provide a welcome through the streets of Janjanbureh

The team is accompanied by Shehu Jaiteh , councillor of Koungel, senior teachers and Momodou Mbodji, Vice President of Nature Friends International came as NFI rep..

The return trip to Senegal will be staged in July, date not confirmed yet..

Meanwhile the Africa Landscape of the Year will come to an end in January 2020 as part side events of the 3rd JJB Kankurang Festival.. It could be recalled that the LSY was inaugurated on January 14th 2018 in Kumbijah Soce.”

The opening ceremony took place at the Regional Education Office

Authorities from the Education directorate, JJB Upper Basic and Kounghul welcome

15th June saw the much loved football game uniting the two groups as Justice reports here.

"Moobeta Foundation joins Nature Friends International and JUSTACT to connect Senegal and Gambia through, Culture, Tourism, Education and Sports..........

A FOOTBALL MATCH was staged to further enhance the brotherly relationship between the two and Moobeta Foundation donates set of jersey, balls and two trophies to both schools to celebrate Senegambia brotherhood..."


Thank you NFI for instigating, funding and enabling this wonderful exchange and all those involved in both the Senegal and and The Gambia.


A background to this development

Who are Naturefriends International and what is their purpose?

“Every two years since 1989, Naturefriends International has proclaimed a transboundary and ecologically valuable European region as 'Landscape of the Year' (LOY). Since then, they succeeded in setting starting points for sustainable regional development in 12 cross-border regions throughout Europe.”

January 2018 Naturefriends International

expanded for the first time in to Africa, choosing Senegal and The Gambia

The Landscape of the Year Senegal/The Gambia is the first Landscape of the Year on the African continent and thus assumes a special position. As a pilot project of the Naturefriends movement, it aims to illustrate how international solidarity can be put into practice in specific activities in the region and thus be sustainably established.’

About 60 European visitors came that first year and the first Kankurang Festival was timed for their arrival. This has since become an annual three day Festival. Another aim was as follows.

(Please scroll down for full account on above link to


“Aiming always to leave a behind a legacy for development and independence NFI worked from the beginning with youths from Senegal

Youth Exchange in the Landscape of the Year – Senegal/The Gambia during the schoolyear 2018/2019 by Johannes Borst-Rachor, NaturFreunde Offenbach

“Many African Naturefriends are pupils and students, especially in the Senegalese association Association Sénégalaise des Amis de la Nature (ASAN). The opening ceremony of the Landscape of the Year in January 2018 in Koumbidja Socé near Koungheul (Senegal) was mainly prepared by pupils from the local Collège d’Enseignement Moyen (Middle school).

© NaturFreunde Offenbach

Naturefriends Senegal work together with the youth organisation JUST ACT in Janjanbureh in The Gambia.”…’activities in the Landscape of the Year need to include young people, and encounters between Senegalese and Gambian students in the border region need to be organised in order to exchange information about nature conservation and environmental protection, as well as sustainable development......... Since none of the young people has yet visited the neighbouring country, the planned exchange is also a chance for cross-border meetings and the beginning of solidarity among neighbours – a core element of every Landscape of the Year........ Such encounters play an important role to live together in peace across borders.

......... During their stay, topics such as history and culture of the neighbouring regions, ecosystems and possible threats, environmental issues, climate change, the importance of planting trees, as well as general topics as for example the goals of the international Naturefriends movement will be discussed. The events are coordinated by Mamadou Mbodji, Vice-Secretary General of ASAN, who oversees the Landscape of the Year project for the ASAN board...."

And thus you see the fulfilment of these plans taking place this weekend. Not only has it been and will be, a great experience for these students, but they are the leaders of the future and thoughts laid down now could well influence the future of the two countries. It may be that Africa Landscape of the Year does not continue after January 2020 but Naturefriends International can be certain that their influence will continue over the coming years through these young people.

Thank you


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