BKK BIRD GROUP
The Bolongfenyo Kuno Kaffo (BKK) young birders and conservation club is about getting children and young people involved in citizen science projects.
Citizen Science means the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists. We engage young people from our local area to educate them about all aspects of Ornithology.
The club has been running for a number of years now and the original target group was teenagers. The club now aims to engage with younger people using our senior members as peer educators.
The club is funded solely by kind donations from the friends of The Gunjur Project Association. Creating a self-sustainable club is difficult here in The Gambia, kids and their parents don't have money to pay subs for the club or transportation cost for excursions which includes food. So, for the time being, we are reliant on sponsorship. We like to expand and develop the club and open it up to more people but it is the financial restraints that hold up further developments.
Feedback from all involved in the club and people who follow us on our Facebook group is good. We have been asked as trainers to teach students from a primary school close by, this project is now in its second year. We receive expenses for this project but again the school is not in a financial position to fund the Access to Birding project full time. The students are trained in the basics of birding, how to us binoculars, telescopes, how to use a field guide, how and where to observe different species of birds. The children have fun while they learn. We aim to get children understanding birds and that they are citizen scientists and that they can make a difference.
So young people who never dreamt of or had the opportunity of going out birding now have projects that get them delving into the wonderful world of Avifauna here in The Gambia and looking critically at how habitat loss is a major issue.
They then are looking at ways of improving, developing these fragile habitats. We aim to mould them into becoming good ambassadors for birding within their peer and social groups. The Gambia is short on informal education projects, that is why we feel that this club/project benefits the not only the young person but also the wider community. Environmental education is not a new concept but when money speaks louder than conservation then we have a duty to connect with young people to highlight protection of habitats and that there are ways of mitigating the impact of development and industrialisation with The Gambia.
As trainers, we are looking to expand our knowledge and are always open to input and suggestions from you. Get in touch and help us improve our programme.