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Oostende City Mayor Visits EU Funded Project Sites

By Ousainou J Sawaneh (PrinCE OjeE)

In other to give more visibility to the ongoing City Link Oostende-Banjul project for sustainable city development funded by the European Union, the Mayor of Oostende City in Belgium, His Excellency Bart Tommelien and delegation recently visited the European Union project sites and places of interest in the City of Banjul.

This has also given opportunity to the mayor and delegation to tour of BCC premises and meeting with the project team, a visit to Arch 22nd and visits to the sister schools, St Augustine’s and St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School respectively.

City Link Oostende-Banjul Partnership believe a world that focuses on sustainability is contingent upon strategic partnership and increase participation to ensure the development of an environment based on resilience and good governance.

The $3.1 Million project is aimed at strengthening good governance, creation of a sustainable development center in Crab Island USB (education, business support, media and culture, health initiatives), sustainable and eco-friendly greening of the city by utilizing local resources in other to mitigate coastal erosion and among other things.

Speaking to the Journalists shortly after the site visit, Mayor Bart Tommelien reiterated the importance of the visit and that the project fits within the ambition of the city adding that he believe cities are the most important organization in the future for humanity.

‘‘This is my first time in the Gambia and I am visiting the project of the European and that’s very important because the two cities has the same goal, which is about climate change, recycling and renewable energy. We have seen that these goals are the same for Banjul and Oostende city’’ he said.

Mayor Bart added that the expectations are high adding that there is lot of work to do to make the cities future proof.

“We have somethings to do in Oostende in Europe and Banjul City Council has things to do here as well. I have visited different places of the mangrove because it is important to preserve the nature for the tourist sector as well”

He added the project is not important to only him but for the city and Europe reiterating that they believe that they can help in the efforts to safeguard the climate, to produce renewable energy and can have the opportunity for the future for the tourist.

He said the project is a big opportunity for Banjul adding that the ongoing construction at the crab Island is very impressive and good and the Mangrove site is really amazing and this will create more tourism development in the Gambia.

At the former Upper Basic School of Crab Island, the Mayor was introduced to the ongoing renovation works which aim to turn the school into a centre for sustainable development, innovation, learning and culture. The Mayor was also introduced to the inner city greening team and was able to witness how hundreds of trees have been planted in the streets of Banjul.

At the beach of Banjul he inspected the over 4000 planted coconuts which will help protect Banjul in the future and fight coastal erosion.
Implementation of accessible healthcare and hygiene education and practices, the project also seek explore potential medical plants that can enhance access to medical needs.

As part of the City Link Ostend Banjul – Partnership for Sustainable City Development project, Mayor and team visited the Eye Clinic and the Burnt unit at the EFSTH, which will undertake a comparative research into using fresh leaves of Aloe Vera to treat second degree burn wounds in infants up to 15 years old.

Phebian Ina Grant Sagnia, health consultant for City Link Ostend Banjul Project, noted that the Aloe Vera fresh leaf is effective for burn wounds, adding that protocols have been prepared by the research team to burn wound patients as part of the ethics of health care.

“We do a daily dressing here in collaboration with the GRCS, nurses, doctors, other volunteer lab scientists, and researchers from the UTG, since we this treatment they have 4 patients currently and 1 who is under the pilot because the burn unit accommodates 5 patients” She explained.

Speaking on the impact of the Oostende City partnership, Mbaye Baboucarr Faal at the Eye Clinic Banjul EFSTH reiterated the importance of the partnership adding that the equipment they are using are from the Oostende City.

“Then we have lot of problem using outdated materials but when the Oostende City came they help us with lot of materials and this makes our work very easy” he said

As part of the relationship between the City of Banjul and Oostende City in Belgium,

Bart and delegation visited the sister schools, St Augustine’s and St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School and the Sint-Jozefs instituut in Oostende are twin schools for sixteen years and this is part of the Oostende Banjul Link initiated by Banjul City Council.

‘‘This has given the children from both countries the opportunity to visit each other’s country to exchange culture and ideas, but unfortunately for a while now that has not happened which we hope the mayor can help to bring back. As you know sir ours is not just a school link but a family which has built us a strong ties with our twin School’’ Ernestine Cole, Head Girl of St. Joseph SSS said as she welcomed Mayor Bart to their school.

The Principal of the St Augustine’s and St. Joseph SSS and, express delight and appreciation for the visit adding that the relationship has been there for over sixteen years.

Mayor Bart Tommelien assured the St. Augustine school principal that they will provide the school with computers.

Mayor Bart Tommelien was accompanied to The Gambia by Silke Beirens – Deputy Mayor of Ostend City Council, Margot Neyskens – Head of Staff Mayor; Jonas Scherrens – Project Coordinator and Jeffrey Roos – Journalist.

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