The story of the Paper Skills Recycling Project in the Gambia, supported and visited by Ethical Travel Portal on many of our trips to the country, is an inspiring example of how responsible tourism connects travellers and locals, and enables our visitors to contribute while taking home a unique souvenir of their holiday
Driving through the villages – children waiving at us and the women working in their compounds makes the journey to Paper Recycling Skills Project (PRSP) in The Gambia an experience in itself.
PRSP is located in one of the many villages in The Gambia away from the busy tourist areas. The aim of the project is to provide exercise books for school children, skills and employment prospects for the local community and an ecological awareness brought about by making the books from recycled materials.
The paper waste is collected and turned into handmade paper through a simple process. As a visitor you will be taken through the process from being a newspaper to the recycled paper.
The handmade process makes no books are alike and very sheet is special. The books are wrapped with beautiful batik dyed clothing; pieces of fabrics are offcuts from the local tailor's shop. The texture and constitution of every page of the books is different reflecting the use of local materials such as flowers and fruit to add "size" and starch to the paper.
These books make excellent albums, diaries or journals and are ideal for that unusual or special present. You can buy these books different places in The Gambia, but it is worth a visit to the Paper Recycling Skills Project. During the visit you will learn about the benefit of the project and it is an added value to meet the people that made your book!
Beneficiaries of this project are pupils at different schools in The Gambia.
PRSP is selling their products and the profit is used to buy school equipment. This is personally handed out to the different schools by the PRSP people. This way they ensure that the products are equally distributed to the pupils and as well as the employees see that their work does make a difference.
This is an excellent project easy for others to implement and make use of the paper waste.