CAPED stands for Community Action Platform on Environment and Development, a grassroots non-profit in The Gambia that is actively restoring degraded mangrove and forest areas in the Lower River area, one of main tributaries flowing into the River Gambia.
CAPED works tightly with the communities, particularly young people, providing the coordination and gathering funds for the replanting and conservation efforts. Since the project was launched in 2009, over three million mangrove saplings were planted, creating almost five kilometres of mangrove forest along the river in a bid to restore the damaged ecosystem, provide a safe habitat for river life and stop salt intrusion into farmlands. The efforts of this project connect with the work being developed further downstream by SYDA (another grassroots organisation in our platform), to create a longer restoration corridor. The new mangroves increase the availability of fish, shrimps and oysters, providing a local source of food and work, and can be sustainably harvested for roofing materials by poor families.
In addition to the mangrove planting, five communities have also agreed to create a 100 ha forest reserve around the villages, restoring and protecting the surrounding area with indigenous trees. Within the villages, youth has also been mobilised to establish community gardens that bring work and new food sources for households, increasing nutritional options and security.
Together with other local organisations, CAPED also develops a very public effort to highlight environmental and social issues, mobilise the public for hands-on interventions and nudge official entities to address these in a timely way.