Sankandi Youth Development Association - SYDA

Project title

Community Mangrove Conservation and Restoration

Project Teaser

Following the destruction of the mangrove forests around their village, the people of Sankandi felt the direct consequences of their loss: less fish to catch and farmland lost due to salt accumulated in the soil. Under this grassroots project in rural Gambia, the community organised itself to revert their fate. They started a large scale mangrove replanting effort, with 200'000 plants so far, and additional activities to empower the rural communities and improve their socio-economic situation while advancing several sustainable development goals.

Active countries

Key Figures

Project Results

200,000 Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) propagules planted along the Bintang Bolong river bank, near the Sankandi village.


Vegetation type

Planted Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) with naturally regenerating Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans).

Climate conditions

Sub-tropical climate, with a distinct dry and rainy (mid-June to September) seasons. The mangrove forests are aquatic environments, with strong tidal influence and saltwater intrusions.

Funding Sources

Funding Government
Funding Internal
Funding Religious groups
Funding International Aid
Funding Private Sponsoring
Funding Inhabitants


Sankandi Youth Development Association
Organisation contact
220 9800280
220 7580332
Sankandi, Kiang West District, Lower River Region
Postal code


The Sankandi Youth Development Association - SYDA is a grassroots project based in the Sankandi area of The Gambia, in West Africa, and focused on restoring the native mangrove forests and empower the rural communities.

The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa and one of the poorest. Shaped by the river Gambia and its tributaries, there used to be extensive mangrove forests but these have been strongly affected by human action. For Sankandi and many other communities along the river banks, the loss of mangrove cover has had serious impacts: loss of habitat for fish species and reduced catches, less firewood available, and loss of valuable farmland and rice fields due to accumulation of salt in the soil.

Facing these consequences, the community engaged in a large-scale effort to recover the lost mangrove under the coordination of the Association and it's founder, Ansumana Darbo. By early 2019, more than 200'000 propagules (embryo mangrove plants) had been collected and then planted by the villagers in the river banks near the Sankandi village. This effort is being supported by scientific research and monitoring to assess current results and direct future planting for achieve lower mortality rates. It has also been distinguished by an Earthwatch Neville Shulman Award in 2018 (link to Earthwatch's page). 

Based on the current results, the project aims to plant 10 million propagules to (re)create a green belt across rural Gambia that connects the mangrove forests of 5 communities.

Next to the mangrove restoration effort, the association also has a strong focus on creating additional sources of food and income, by promoting beekeeping (for honey and wax production), poultry farming and horticultural production. In addition, training in micro-entreprises and leadership roles in project management are conducted for women and less privileged youth groups and school-leavers. The overall goal is to empower the local rural communities and advance several sustainable development goals such as "1: No Poverty", 13: Climate Action", "14: Life Below Water", and "15: Life On Land".

Partnerships & Collaborations

sustinova logo

Sustinova is a non-profit organisation based in Zurich, Switzerland, and devoted to promoting Sustainability in the NGO area.

As a partner, Sustinova provides operational support to Reforestation World in its public activities.

ETH Zurich - Chair of Ecosystem Management

The Chair of Ecosystem management at the ETH Zürich organised the Latsis Symposium ETH 2018 “Scaling-up forest Restoration”, on June 6-7 & 9, 2018.

Reforestation World collaborated with the link to NGOs, practitioners and others stakeholders in the field of forest restoration.