Newsletter

Report from trip to Gambia in March-April 2017 and other things.   (April 18 2017)

Economy
Faithful members provide regular contributions each month. Monetary gifts were also received from members who sold things. Church coffee on Easter Sunday raised with coffee, sandwiches and pastries, lotteries and sales about SEK 3,000. We thank all the people who put up the day! Also the guests who contributed to income.
Knitting and Sewing groups. A meeting with the sewing ladies will take place after next week. Then we structure the current patterns and descriptions and lists what is necessary to make. Will be notified on the website and Facebook.
Sponsorship activities
During the visit in the Gambia sponsored children has been visited. Documentation is on Rolf's table and will be communicated to sponsors when Rolf processed all data and obtained all the images. We are also awaiting some missing data from a number of children whose parents were not home when we visited. A couple of new sponsors have registered their interest.
A sponsor contributed SEK 800 for poultry. For the money was purchased for these 10 chickens and feed, a great addition to supplies.


Manduar
Preschool
A meeting was held with the staff of the school. The nursery is now an annex to elementary school in Manduar, which is a conventional method in the Gambia. This means that the principal is responsible for preschool administration. The fence project is under processing, applying stones in the bottom that will preclude animals to enter. However, the fence manager has to take some time off as his father died.
We await the repair before we bring play equipment from Aspeboda School's collection and tree money from gifts from a funeral service.
Health
Mari Kutah has carefully brought a record of their visit. She is a single mother 21 years with three children. A sick mother and a husband who (may) have taken to Italy by sea and not heard of. She is paid SEK 100 a month for her reports, and is a very ambitious woman who has authority and love her work with health care. She has now learned to make good judgements about who need to be sent to the doctor. However, she had amassed 43 persons with bad teeth and toothache. A visit to the dentist cost of transport and treatment is SEK 100.
Kebba alleged that we give them the opportunity to this, they also pull out the bad teeth. Apparently, some not ventured out on it at the last visit to the dentist. Dr. Bah will on Thursday visit the village to assess and possibly to treat the patients who were listed for consultation with a doctor at the health work during our visit. Of the 15o visit Marie and AFFC had 25 listed. Dr. Bah also visit Sankandi in the same case. His fee will be approximately SEK 2000 by visit and treatment of 50 patients. Some will be referred further by Dr. Bah's agency to the eye and ear clinic.
The water
The water is maintained by a water committee. However, the waste water is still not handled, and protection is needed around the taps so that the cows do not damage them.
Women cooperative
A young tailor from the neighbouring village visited in Manduar and got to try the sewing machine. He now works in the sewing cooperative. He has learned a few women to sew and is skilled to cut clothing for patterns. He does an excellent job. When he sews a dress and sells for SEK 60 women receive 20 SEK him. There are now five working sewing machines in Manduar. The tailor prefers to use the old machine we sent from Sweden. The women also produce very beautiful batik fabrics. They are really good at this. They express a desire for fabrics and linens from us to make nice clothes for adults and children of this.
Other
In Manduar during the year were born 19 children, all alive. Most are delivered in homes.
In conclusion, we note that Manduar has gathered momentum at the women's cooperative, Mari manages health work, the water is maintained by the water committee and the school by the headmaster. Sponsored children expressed gratitude for the support they receive. During our years in Manduar come perhaps as close as we can to give them a better life. However, our visits are still of great importance to maintain what we have achieved.


Sankandi.
Health
The health problems are still higher than in Manduar due to longer distance to the clinic. Alagie, village volunteers in health issues is very ambitious and knowledgeable. Also Sankandi will be visited by Dr. Bah on Thursday. Alagie is also paid The midwives were very grateful for the stretchers we sent them, they have been very useful. However, the transportation of the women to give birth at the clinic is expensive, costing SEK 100. So it is usually done by donkey cart which takes a long time and painful for the woman. About 30 boys between 3 and 12 years came back from a three-week initiation period with circumcision in the bush. They were almost all in need of antibiotics, said Alagie. Kebba, together with Dr. Bah see if we can get to a health room in the village.
Boy Landing with the severe rashes was during our visit in Gambia treated by Dr. Bah. The result was amazingly good. The boy can play and have got the energy and hope back.
The wells
Six wells have been remedied. We note that the work is very well done and the village is infinitely grateful and happy for our performance. They went past the three o'clock at night to be sure to get the water before it ended, now is the availability good. The cost so far about SEK 27,000 for this project, which will supply the village with plenty of water to the farming for a long time in the future.
Women cooperative
Next sewing machine sent will end up in Sankandi. They want to start with batik and wish also fabrics to sew by. The estimated the embroidery kits very much, it was used for small bags.
Other
In Sankandi remains to give further support to the women's cooperative. Look over whether to support the fence to the cooperative allotment. As well as expanding child sponsorship activities in the village.
The partnership has now been strengthened with Dr. Bah. He is a very knowledgeable doctor in both tropical and western medicine. He is also knowledgeable in the various tribal languages.
A teaching plan for the villages was discussed with Bah. He estimates if we can get it in the villages. It includes foot care, to prevent parasite infestation, self-care to prevent hypertension, dental health, hygiene, the importance of ensuring their wounds and the importance of the liquid. Dr. Bah emphasizes that increased fluid intake will relief or cure many of the health problems found in West Africa.
Container
Probably the next container will be shipped in September. We shall minimize shipping to two containers per year. And asks that contributions be sent to Marie Boberg during the period August 15 to September 15 because we have very limited storage space now. Then we can focus on the packing.
Activities
We will have one member meeting in Aspeboda in end of May. There are opportunities to organize similar events in other parts of Sweden where we can come provide image viewing and information.
Gift cards
We shall minimize the gift card options to two, namely medical and dental appointments and the purchase of seeds.
Price to send boxes
A banana carton with godchild gifts, about 50 litres, costs SEK 200 to send.

A farming expert will visit Sankandi to provide advice about the failed onion crop.
CFG in Gambia will get the report from AFFC meeting concerning waste water, sending patients to the dentist more often and cost estimate for the fence in Sankandi.
The Board of Directors decides to AFFC can not support private business projects economically, such as Kebbas farming projects. There has to be other ways be finance.
The next board meeting will be held in late May.

Progress Report October 2014   (Published 04/11-2014)

CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION THE GAMBIA

The Children’s Foundation (CFG) provides this progress report to the AFFC as a way of updating the team on the developments in the Gambia especially in Manduar as a community and how those developments are impacting in the lives of children, women and the entire people living in the village of Manduar. This progress report will capture all the feedbacks for all the pending issues and also key way forward and recommendations.

The month of October has been a very busy and challenging month for CFG and its operations in The Gambia. The team has registered progress in most of the areas however, in terms of reporting and sharing of pictures was challenging due to the fact that the members where highly engaged in the Tobaski (EID) preparations while others travelled out of the country. During this period, people in the Gambia being a Muslim dominated community, are highly preparing for their families for the festive ceremony.

Status of Ebola
As a way of update, we would like to inform you that The Gambia is still considered as Ebola free. In the neighboring country of Senegal, the single case that was registered was later treated and now Senegal is also considered Ebola free. We received confirmation also that Nigeria which was one of the countries with some few cases was able to defeat the virus and is now considered Ebola free. However, in the sub region, we still have Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia registering new cases on a daily basis. Recently, Mali has received one case, a two year old child, who later died. The country is being monitored to see if there were any contacts with the child. 84 people have already been isolated in Mali and are under observations. This continues to pose treat to many countries within the sub region including the Gambia.

Despite these challenges, the Gambia continues to strengthen its alert systems by ensuring that anybody entering the Gambia either by land, sea or air is screened at the entrance. This is really helping in controlling any invasion by any career. The Gambia also continues to improve on its sensitizations and community education for people to be aware and know how to prevent themselves and their families.

CFG also organized a day sensitization program using some posters developed by Government of The Gambia to enlighten people in Manduar about the signs and symptoms of Ebola and how they should protect and prevent themselves from the virus.

Farming Results and Food Crisis
As reported in last month’s report, this year’s farming is very poor and now that the rains stop and farmers started harvesting the little crops they grown, we have already started feeling the hit as most farmers just harvested what is equivalent to nothing compared to their expected feeding for the year. In Manduar, the groundnuts were very bad in fact 85% of the cultivated groundnuts did not grow due to poor rains. The same thing applies to rice production which has up to 75% of the cultivated lands not been able top produce any yield this year. So the anticipation is that this year there will be huge food problem in a month or two.

Provision of Materials to sponsored Children
Last month CFG received money from AFFC to purchase some items which includes but not limited to Mosquito nets, tents, toothbrushes, goats etc. These funds where received and was used to buy the materials as in the table shared with AFFC. Some of the materials such as goats, where purchased at the village level and where given to the families in the list. A detail financial report with receipts has been prepared and is being finalized and then shared with AFFC for their accounting and records.

The families have expressed delight for the support given to them by AFFC and pray that the foundation continue to grow. The materials were timely as they came at a time when I had no bed nets, and my children and I had big challenges with malaria. We rarely sleep well during the night says one of the mothers.

Sponsor money for children and their families
The last quarter money for children where distributed among the children and their families and the letters has been written as usual by each family which will be shared with you again in a separate mail. We will be scanning all the letters from the families and send to AFFC for their accounting and record keeping.

The families continue to be so grateful with the continued support through the sponsorship program. These monies when they arrive help us to address many domestic needs for our children which will really go a long way in their growth and development says a father of one of the sponsored child.

Child with Heart Problem
Since the communication between AFFC and the doctor, we are yet to receive any communication on this. However, from our last visit to the family, the child still continues to receive the medications that are keeping her moving. The situation according to our last visit check is getting more complicated as the child grows.

We don’t know if AFFC was able to receive a confirmation from the doctor at MRC since they said such confidential reports are not widely shared among many people.

We will still continue to monitor the child’s progress

Pre-school Update
The formal opening of the pre –school is the major activity that CFG is working on and has engaged different stake holders to make this possible. Government through the Ministry of Education has linked us to the Primary school which is recently upgraded into an Upper Basic School and the head master was also transferred to another community. This is a big advantage for us as it will create more opening to have more interaction with Government on the matter.

At this point we cannot give any specific date for the official lounching looking at all the developments with the Ministry and we did not want to do the official opening without Government as their participation is very crucial in this effort. We have a scheduled meeting with the authorities on November 15, to finalize the formal opening activities. We will send you a quick note immediately after the meetings which will possible give us the date and the logistics involved.

Our discussions with government will focus on the following areas as highlighted in our previous report:

1. The teachers
2. The feeding
3. The uniforms
4. The identification and enrolment of students
5. School Management Committee
6. School Curriculum
7. The security
8. Etc

Gambia Committee Members
Kebba Ndow Darboe – National Coordinator and Logistics Officer
Yankuba Manjang – Program Officer and Secretary
Mama Touray – Sponsor Officer
Nuha Camara – Field Coordinator
Omar Camara – Assistant Field Coordinator

 

Container arrived and opened at last

Now, finally, our cartons in place. Kebba, president of the Gambia team has transported them to his restaurant and an empty storage room. Where they will be stored up until we get to Gambia again, and carries them on to Manduar. There are a total of 45 boxes, mostly clothing, medical supplies, women's package, baby package and things for the preschool. We will ensure that each family receives part of this, then we will distribute it to them about 60 large families in the village. 
We thank Kebba because he patiently guarded the load and take care of it until we come. 
Marie. (2014-07-10)

Water Project update report

Background

Manduar is one of the most deprived villages in terms of water supply. During the visit of AFFC team from Sweden, it was seen clearly that there is a strong need for the village to have stable and reliable water supply system that will facilitate human survival and development especially children. It was from there that discussions and engagement commenced to look at the possible ways of addressing this problem. Letters were written to key partners, visits were conducted to some institutions etc over the years but to no avail. However, the AFFC team took it upon themselves to raise funds and help the village to get out of this very critical condition. The team came to do assessment on the current water coping system in the village which was looked at very well and some date was collected for the team to analyse. Other visits were made to other organizations that have experience in such project in the Gambia including Future In Our Hands (FIOH). In one of the meetings with the village leaders including the Alkalo (Head of Village), the Alkalo was quoted saying ‘If AFFC brings water in the village, despite my age, I will come before all the village and start dancing’. It was that serious for the village.

 Women used to put buckets on their heads and travel for very long distances just to have water for the family to drink, wash, cook etc.

Installation of a water system

It was realized that in the village, there was an old borehole which used to provide water for the village. This borehole was assessed by the AFFC team to see if that could be reactivated instead of constructing a new Borehole.

The thinking was to go for a new water supply system that will provide the right quality of water for the people in the village. However, it was found to be very expensive to install a new system and the team after engaging technicians got the advised that the old borehole could be reactivated and have a good system then it will be able to serve the purpose. Then the team engages FIOH to help in the process.

After the installation of the new tanks, a solar system that supports the supply of water from the borehole to the tanks was also installed with the help of the villagers and the team of technicians from FIOH.

 Pipes were connected from the main borehole that provides the supply of water to four taps. The four taps are located at the following places.

The Preschool – 1
The Mosque – 1
The Borehole site – 1
The village center – 1

This distribution was designed so that with this initial installation at least most of the village areas will have access to the water. This arrangement was discussed and agreed upon with the Alkalo and village heads together with the Village Development Committee (VDC).

Conclusion

The CFG team in The Gambia is planning an official launching of the boreholes however due to certain circumstances, the launching could not hold as the entire village was busy looking for one of the elder women who got missing. The team thought that the old women will be seen so the launching was postponed until now when we enter the month of Ramadan. So our plan is to have the launching together with the official launching and handing over of the Pre-school in September when schools will open. The CFG team is proposing to the AFFC team if they could visit at that time so that the launching, opening and handing over can all happen in their present.

We are looking forward to the other phase of the installation of the other taps and all that can be installed and launched if possible in September

From Children Foundation The Gambia  (8 July 2014)


A DRAFT REPORT OF THE ASPEBODA FOUNDATION FOR CHILDREN (AFFC) SWEDISH & GAMBIAN TEAM’S TRIP TO MANDUAR

DAY 1

Wednesday 6th November, 2013, both the Swedish and the Gambian team of the AFFC members met at the African Village Hotel in Bakau to embark on a journey to Manduar. The journey was started in the early afternoon.

We had our first stop at the Brikama market where we did some shopping. Food items such as Rice, Oil, Onion, Potato etc where bought and as well shoes for the Village women.

After the shopping, we embark on the long journey to Manduar. During the journey, though we were all so tired of sitting but still there was plenty of fun and laughing in the vehicle.

We arrived in Manduar in the evening. Our arrival was characterized by a rapturous welcome from the women and children. The sing and dance wall the way with us to our host house, where they continue singing and dancing even more. We were later excused by the women to go and have lunch and also relax since we were all so tired.

We had our lunch in our host house, later moved to the school where we would be accommodated and there we relax. Later in the evening we had a meeting with the villagers to formally notify them of our presence.

Nuha Camara the field coordinator explained our visit to the villagers noting that this is not the first time of our visit but its over two (2) years the people of the foundation visits Manduar.

The Alkalo of the Village, Ba Kawsu Sanyang in his welcoming remarks urged the team to be at home noting that the foundation members are true friends of his Village. He further went on to express his delight and that of the villagers in welcoming Roger for the first time in Manduar. He assured us that Manduar was and is and will always be a home for us.

For his part the Village Development Committee (VIC) chairman also echo similar remarks saying that the AFFC is the first of its kind in the village and the school he noted will be of great importance to the village. He further went on to thank the foundation and also urged them to help in the water situation of the village. He said this is the biggest and most urgent problem that they are all crying for solution to.

Marie speaking on behalf of the team said she is very happy and pleased to be back in Manduar most especially with her husband, Roger, for the first time. She said the people of Manduar are a family to her; they are her sons and daughters. And anything that would help them and if is in her reach, she will make sure it gets to them. She further went on to assured the villagers that now that her husband is around, it will also help immensely in raising funds in Sweden.

The Lady President of the local women group Musukebba Camara expresses the women joy in having the foundation around and urged them to also help in the water problem as well.

The evening was punctuated with singing and dancing.

DAY 2

After the morning breakfast, we divided ourselves into two teams. The first team was Marie, Mama and Nuha; they stayed in the school and take care of the women. The team washed the women’s feet, those that had wounds on their legs was also treated. Many women complain of back and knee pains because of the long hours they spend on the farms working. Marie and the team massage most of them and also trained them on how to massage. They further advised the women to be helping each other with massage from time to time as this will greatly relieve their pains. The village women were also shown how they would wash their feet and apply “Bamboo oil” on them to help protect them. The women also complain of pain in their foot because of the long distance they walk to and from their farms. Marie and her team put some sponge like materials in their shoes; this they said would protect their foot from direct contact with the hard cover of the shoes and thereby protecting them from pain. The team end their session by given out shoes to the village women.

The second team was Roger, Yankuba and Omar; we first went round the school to see how big it is. We took the measurement of the school. After completing the inspection of the school, the team head out to the village to see the conditions of the local pumps. The first pump visited, we were told the village woman at the site that the pump is too heavy and also the water table is too deep. She said that if the pump is left for about 15-30 minutes without been use or the first person to come to the pump in the morning will always spend long time pumping before a single drop of water will come out of the pump. This the team also confirms by sitting there for about 20 minutes and then start the pump and the story is the same. The water doesn’t easily come out. The team then proceeded to the other pumps. The second and third pumps all had similar stories like the first one visited. But the story is even worst for the fourth and fifth pumps. These last two pumps are completely abandoned because they are spoiled. After completing the visit to the pumps the team head back to the school.



MEETING WITH THE VILLAGE ELDERS

In the evening at around 5:30 pm as the AFFC team was having our own talk on how the day went, we were visited by the village elders and we had a meeting with them. During the meeting a range of issues were discussed and key among them was the pump issue and the fencing of the school. The Alkalo of the village Ba Kawsu Sanyang thank the AFFC team for the Nursery School and also reflected his mind on how difficult it was to get water to the ground for the construction of the school. He said that water is the biggest problem of his village. He urged the foundation to help in that aspect noting that even if the school is fence and more class rooms are build but the water issue not solve, the pupils will always go out of the school to other compounds to get water. This he said is not safe as the school is right on the highway.

For his part the women President of the local women committee Musukebba Camara also noted the distance she and her fellow women had to carry bucket of water to the school for the construction of the classrooms. She also urged the foundation to help them with water as it is a basic and a fundamental human need. She said the women of Manduar have lot of projects in mind but because of the lack of water they could not implement them. She said Horticulture, Animal Husbandry are some of the projects they have in mind but because of limited water they cannot have them.

In responding to the issues raised by the villagers, Roger said that the school is the primary objective of the foundation which they are committed to but they don’t also know that this was the situation with regards to water. He promised that he and the team will try by all means possible to help them.

Marie then went on to say that they have already registered the foundation with the government body that helps in funding such projects. She said the body is called SIDA, but then noted that we have to write a project proposal that will link the water project and Democracy and Good governance. This project would be sent to SIDA for founding.

Other elderly speakers included Ba Lang Dabo, Ba Yaya Jammeh and Lisanding Derboe.

The meeting was then closed with prayers.

DAY 3

The ever energetic Marie, Mama and Nuha packed their bags and files, set out for a tour of the sponsored children in the village. They went from house to house of each and every sponsored child. They took pictures of the children, gave them learning materials like pencils and sweets and also extend season greetings from their sponsors.

The sponsored children in appreciation thank the team for the support given to them and also wrote letters to their sponsors to show their profound gratitude.

The always ready to go Roger, Yankuba and Omar visited the Primary School to see their borehole that is there and how there taps are operating. The borehole supplies the School with water and there is only one tap extended to the village to help ease the water situation.

After that we also met with the people trained by Future In Our hand (FIOH) on pump repair and maintenance. The men told us that their training was purely practical but it was only for five days and that is not enough to master the trade. They said they need more training to build their capacities. They also said that the materials for the pumps are so expensive that the villagers cannot afford them. Most of the times they have to take materials from the other local pumps that are abandoned to fix the broken once. And this they said because of the heavy work load placed on the pumps also breaks them down so quickly.

They said they are still having the equipments given to them during the training for the repairing and the materials are all in good condition.

They were asked by Roger, what they think would be the best possible solution to the water problem?

They responded that a borehole would be the best solution. They explained that since most of the neighboring villages are all using boreholes and that could also serve for over two years without a single repair. They argued that the local pumps no matter how much they repair it, it will always break down because of the work load and the depth of the water table.

Then Roger said the team would look into the advise and see how best we could help to solve the water problem in the soonest time possible.

DAY 4

The AFFC team packed up their bags early in the morning prepared for our journey back to the Kombos. And when the vehicle was around we all went straight in. the villagers were around to bid us fair well. Before the vehicle leave the school, we prayed together for a safe journey and hope to see again soon. The vehicle then took off for another long journey to Bakau.

Report prepared by Yankuba Manjang.

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About the forthcoming trip to Gambia Nov 5
 
Peter, our employe have had to make a serious eye operation . Which makes his planned trip to Gambia postponed until spring.
When several questions need to be sorted out in the Gambia , the Marie and Roger travel there on November 5 for one week. Daughter Lisa Marie and Lisa # 2 as she is called nowadays , a girl from Gävle help with luggage.
We will thus be able to carry about 50 kg to the village Manduar ,as we pack only 5 kg for personal use. Marie will complete the packing, wish Peter and Marie started earlier. Primarily packed is bandages , underpants, pants, diapers, and yarn. Also backpacks to preschool. Foot files are also included.
In The Gambia , we will discuss with the women if they want to buy fabric and sew uniforms for kindergarten.
In consultation with the team leader Kebba program will tentatively be as follows:
Tuesday: We arrive at the African Village approx . 17.30 after meeting with Gambia team .
Wednesday: Depart 10:00 to Manduar. Kebba , Mama, Yankuba, Roger, Marie and Omar traveling. Estimated arrival at Manduar ca.15.00 .
On Wednesday , Thursday and Friday, Marie to meet the women of the cooperative and in healthy group with Nuha. Roger will sort out the issues surrounding water and elevation of the land, fences and other things belonging to the building.
Friday night we go back to Bakau.
Saturday we will visit the team at home, congratulating latest baby in AFFC and have planning meeting.
Sunday  Lisa , Roger and Marie visits  godchild in Makumbaya . They will get their sack of rice, its oil can and bag of onions. This child is not a foster child in AFFC program.
Monday: Then shall the school department attended to in the best possible way to express preferences for their support. The evening ends with compiling a record of the trip.
And on Tuesday (12 /11) go home.
Marie will be back with a letter at the end of the week when we know a bit more!

A journey of hope and joy in Manduar !


(28/10/2013)
 

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Report from The Gambia-team june-july 2013

Introduction

This report provides an overall breakdown of activities that occurred between June and July 2013.
The report captures the activities and key improvements or developments that took place within this period.
Activities Implemented
The activities implemented for the period under reporting are hereby presented below.

Pre School Building Completion
 Since the building complete and the final painting is almost done, we have re engaged the Ministry Of Basic Education concerning their visit to the school. According to the Regional Educational Officer, their team has rescheduled the visit to August 2013 due to the month of Ramadan.  The school opening is still planned for September 2013 if all things go through. I will continue to provide you with updates on the Ministries visit and the outcome and way forward.

Rocket Stove

The women are making good use of the Rocket stove and are getting used to it. We are still in discussions with the village elders on how this can be replicated in houses. Few youth trainings will go on to equip some youths with the skills of making and maintain the model in houses.
Plans are also in place to expand to other villages if this works well with Manduar.

Women training
The women are doing very well with the sewing machines. They can now sew some of the small clothes of their children and also some damaged clothes can be put together for re-use by the owners. The machines are now transported to the workshop were the women will continue their trainings and also sewing for use.

Health Program
The health program continues to be one of the most important components of our interventions in the community of Manduar due to the fact that the Government of the Gambia has showed great interest in its success. Currently Nuha is working with the women, some elders and youth to see how to take this program to be community owned. There are strong plans to incorporate this in the normal Government health program. We will continue to engage Government on the way forward

Child Sponsorship
Recently, some of the sponsored children received funds from their sponsors. These monies were collected and given to the children and their families in Manduar. All the children and their families have written letters to acknowledge receipt of the money and thank the sponsors for the kind gesture. Kebba has shared the letters and photos with Anita.

Gambia Committee Members:

1   Kebba Darboe, Coordinator and Logistics Officer
2   Yankuba Manjang, Program Officer and Secretary
3   Mama Touray, Sponsor Officer
4   Nuha Camara Field Coordinator
5   Omar Camara Assistant field Coordinator

 

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Report from The Gambia-team  17/6/2013

Introduction


In this report, we provide information on the current state of affairs of the Foundations activities in the Gambia in the month of September and October 2012. The report is highlighting keys outcomes of the interventions and also way forward for other activities.
This month’s report will focus on the following areas:


1. Information on women and children in the Gambia
2. Women Activities
3. Condition of the Machines
4. Child Sponsorship

 

Situational Analysis of Women and Children in the Gambia

Globally, too many children are unnecessarily deprived of parental care due to poverty and its impact upon the family4. Poverty is not limited to developingcountries. One in every six of the rich nation’s children is living in poverty. In total, approximately 47 million children in the nations of the OECD live below their national poverty lines (UNICEF Innocent Report Card, 2000). In different regions of the world, poverty is repeatedly described as the first reason for families resorting to institutional care or alternative care placements for their children. In Indonesia, parents choose to send their children to government or religious group-sponsored orphanages or boarding schools, to ensure that they have access to nutrition, health care, and educational services (UNICEF, 2005). In the UK children from poor backgrounds are 700 times more likely to be placed in care than children from other backgrounds (Bebbington and Miles, 1989). Economic poverty can also have broader social impacts. In Albania, for example, it has fuelled internal and external migration, which in turn is believed to have contributed to a weakening of traditional community support networks, a rise in divorce rates, family disintegration, and single-parent families (UNICEF, 2005). Children in such families are at greater risk of being institutionalized, entering life on the streets and/or becoming victims of sexual exploitation, including child trafficking. With families increasingly under economic stress, girls and young women are finding themselves sexually active (often in exchange for money, goods, protection etc) in ever increasing numbers and at young ages (SOS-Kinderdorf International, 2005). However, children born to single mothers, particularly in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East face significant stigma, which may in turn force their mothers to abandon them (SOS-Kinderdorf International, 2005). In Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union large numbers of children continue to be institutionalized, largely for social reasons – but poverty and disability play a significant part (Carter, 2005, UNICEF Innocent Insight 2005). The social consequences of economic transition has led to shrinking state and increased rates of unemployment, migration of workers, family breakdown, single and early parenthood (Carter, 2005; UNICEF Innocent Insight, 2005). Reasons why children are in institutional care in this region include: poverty (particularly low income and inadequate housing); negative cultural and social attitudes and practices (towards single mothers, young parents, people with disabilities and Roma ethnic minority group); stigmatization and discrimination of children with physical or mental disabilities; Prevailing (and often discriminatory) attitudes that ‘professionals know best’, judging children as ‘defective’ when they have a disability and/or parents as ‘inadequate’ (e.g. if they have a child with a disability, or if they abuse alcohol or drugs); and abandonment or neglect by parents – including among large families who feel unable to care for so many children (Carter, 2005). There are different reasons for younger children being placed in alternative care settings in Western Europe compared with other parts of Europe (e.g. Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Romania etc). In Western Europe 69% of younger children are placed in care due to abuse and neglect, 23% for social reasons (family ill health, parents in prison), 4% abandonment and 4% disability. In comparison in other parts of Europe 32% are abandoned, 25% social orphans (family ill health and capacity), 23% due to disability, 14% abuse and neglect and 6% orphans (Browne et al, 2005). Thus, as suggested by Carter (2005) the reasons for institutionalization are associated with poverty and social changes in countries 3 Further gender and discrimination analysis (including ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation etc), as well as analysis relating to specific groups of children such as: teenage mothers, child soldiers and children in conflict with the law are likely to be enriched through more detailed analysis within the regions.

Women Activities

A meeting was held with the women to brief them about some of the plans for the project in the village. We discussed the pre-school project and did inform them that many discussions have been going on and that the board has already approved the project but we are working with Rolf on the technicalities and once that is finish the construction will commence. The women were so happy with this message that they start dancing and cannot stop. Later we brief them about the sponsored children which they are all waiting to begin communicating with their sponsors. They keep on asking, many questions about these children and we informed them that Roger is working very hard on this and very soon they will something about that. The women finally thank AFFC for having good intention for children and woman in the village. They continue praying for the team in Sweden for the good intention they have and for the good work they are doing in Sweden in mobilizing resources for children

The Machines
The machines usage is increasing the women have completed farming and are now a bit free. They have reset the training team who are doing more refresher trainings and now they have reached out to many women who can at least try to do some sewing s for themselves. We are hoping that this program will be scaled up when the workshop in the preschool building is completed.

Child Sponsorship
Discussions were made with Roger on this and we are hopeful that this project will commence before the end of the month. Most of the children we took photos of are very delighted and their family is very happy with the fact that their children have been selected. We hope that before the end of the month, the first transfer of monies will be made for these sponsored children and we will be able to use that to increase the confident of the community people in this project.

Manduar School Children writing to Aspeboda School Children
The children of Manduar Primary School have written letters and these were mailed through post to Marie for onward sharing with Aspeboda school in Falun. The children were much exited to be selected for this friendship program. We hope to receive another letters from the children in the near future.

Construction of the Pre-school
Discussions have now reached the final level in the construction. The Gambia team is continuously engaging the contractor for the finalization of the contract document which will be shared with AFFC for the approval of the board before the contract is shined. We hope that this process will be finish this week and send to Rolf for onward presenting it to the Board. If all things go well we hope to start the construction by end of this month.

Gambia Committee Members:

1   Kebba Darboe, Coordinator and Logistics Officer
2   Yankuba Manjang, Program Officer and Secretary
3   Mama Touray, Sponsor Officer
4   Nuha Camara Field Coordinator
5   Omar Camara Assistant field Coordinator

Newsletters

Travelogue Gambia visit in spring 2013

This year's trip to the Gambia and the village of Manduar was carried out by the following members: Anita, child sponsorship manager, Ingegärd, nurse, Inga-Lill, gardening, Tor-Erik, Rocket Stove building and myself Marie working with women's cooperatives and health. We brought medical supplies, yarns, garments and shoes, backpacks, pads, baby package, pre-school materials and other miscellaneous supplies. The trip started at the Stockholm Arlanda airport seven in the morning on 26/2. After a long flight we landed at Banjul International Airport. The chaos which was worse than the worst, we were very carefully controlled at customs, bags and baby package was torn up at breakneck speed. We could see the Kebba Ndow, our partner in the the Gambia team stood on the other side of customs and waiting for us, but we did not have contact until we passed by customs staff. When all was over with, loaded our 150 kg heavy luggage on a car, Kebba and I went to the hotel African Village. The rest of the team went in the shuttle bus.

 

In African Village we were welcomed with delight to meet us again. We were installed in our rooms, and got a little time for ourselves. In the evening Kebba Ndow met up, and we had a brief planning meeting for the next two weeks. The reunion with Kebba NdowDarboe, our friend of the hotel which is handy for us all the time here was especially dear.

 

Wednesday was spent to purchase the supplies we needed to add to the time in the village. Kebba picked us up, and we went by taxi to the big market in Serrekunda. Fabrics, godchild gifts, spades and a provisional toilet chair gear was purchased. It would be manufactured of a plastic garden chair, in which a hole sawn off. Below placed a bag in a bucket, all to avoid having to do our business publicly! To shop at a market in the Gambia is a day's hard work, both with the heat, crowds, people, beggars, flies and traffic that does not follow any rules. There is a temptation, but Kebba as a guide, we had not managed to get us what we were going, he's a patient man! The evening we spent with Kebba, documentation, and various other preparations before departure for Manduar.

 

Thursday.

The evenings work was to ensure that all the stuff that was going to the village was packed and ready. Friday came our minibus that would transport us to the village. 300 kg loaded, a high pile on top of the van, Anita calls it tip-over-van ! However, had cargo guys didn't not measured so carefully, because the load was too high for the hotel gate, thus got everything done for a second time! Finally, off we went. It is a long journey of 170 km, many military - and police checks. The road not worthy to be called a road by our standards. Hot and dusty, but expectantly. We stopped and bought 80 liter of water on the way to meet our needs in the village

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In the varm African night we arrived at. 8 pm to Manduar. All the village kids came running and singing, the women danced and reunion was very strong and full of emotion. We were housed in a nice house. Mattresses and mosquito nets were spread and mounted. The women came with sumptuous dish of food. We brought to the cooking women rice, oil, onion and money so they could provide us with food during our time in the village. The evening was spent planning the work in the village. It was hot, very hot and dark in Manduar at night, however, was the sky more clearly! The stars were brighter than anywhere else I've been.

 

Saturday was time for the big meeting with the villagers. White plastic chairs stand in line to Alkalo, and elders of the Council, as well as to us. The meeting begins with prayer and blessing. After that presentation of all of us. Kebba  spoke to the people, and I spoke as a representative for our Swedish team. Right now I can't remember all I said, but in particular, I know that I mentioned you all from Sweden, have contributed to our journey in different ways, even if you are back at home you are in our thoughts and all the gifts we could bring to the village. Women responded with singing and applause. Alkalo tells about village enormous difficulties with the water, he asks us to help. He is responsible for his village and asks us to appeal to you at home for support to water. Children have diarrhea, mothers can not clean children from sand and dirt and chicken shit on the evening. The animals may not have enough water, and watering of crops is difficult. Alkalo asks to understand their situation.

The heat is on, more than 40 degrees. We go from the village square to the room where we are served lunch. However, I think we all most are thirsty. Africans do not drink nearly as much as we do, they are surprised how much we topples in us. After lunch, working with Anita with godchildren documentation, Inga-Lill and Tor-Erik busy with planting, and I Ingegärd with hygiene information, and podiatry. 15 women would be part of the group but was probably where a 50 - speech. We informed about tooth and hand hygiene. Subsequently, we showed how they can easily manage their foot care. A little water was poured into plastic bag, tied around the ankle, after a while took the foot out for grinding and rub in bamboo oil. All according to Sister Ingegärd concept. Sweat dripped of our bodies, we worked under a roof, with full transparency to all the village kids, we toiled so long as we could, some with the most wounded feet we ask to return the next day. Poor women, how can they walk with these ruined feet! I think I can say with certainty that they were very pleased with the help they received with their feet, and the knowledge they got themselves continue to manage them. But instead of five foot files we should have bought 50! We had no trouble sleeping that night.

 

Sunday was Anita and Marie start work in the knitting group. We were in a small house where village battery service man used to work. The women were so enthusiastic, yarn was distributed, and they began to crochet mittens, linens and skirts. Tor-Erik began his work with the Rocket Stove along with the brick layer, Ingegärd and Inga-Lill planted. In the evening was held a small celebration with drums, dance and camp fires. Atmosphere was high and the whole village was there and danced!

 

Monday we visited sponsor families, Anita and volunteer Nuha took us to the respective families. Pictures were taken, gifts were distributed. We also found time to work with the women a few hours. The heat in the village is really high! Anita continued Tuesday working with godchildren, Inga-Lill with garden, Tor-Erik with the stove. Ingegärd, Nuha and Marie had an open reception. Many took the blood pressure, a lot of bandaging, and sick children were supervised by Ingegärd. Some we could only tell to go to the clinic 15 km away. Ingegärd had good use of all her years as a district nurse, the gratitude and the need was infinite.

 

Wednesday the health care reception continued, and Ingegärd taught volunteer Nuha in how to continue the work. The women's cooperative worked with knitting and crocheting up. Gardening - and stove work proceeded. Towards evening we were expecting Lisa and Kebba! Lisa came gliding into the village, she had herself driven every mile of the way, was tired but also glad to have managed.

 

Thursday we visited school, letter from Aspeboda School awarded, and goodies distributed to the pre school children. The headmaster has supervision over 50 school children under a tree in the schoolyard when their mothers are working. We met a supervisor for all local schools, visited all the classes, and their huge garden. Each student was responsible for their own lines in the vegetable garden, so impressive!


All work would be completed during the afternoon, which we did. It was then time to deliver all gifts to women, including the sewing machines purchased. Several baby packages was already distributed, but all that was left of equipment we brought was handed over to be placed in a storage room, where the needs are able to get assigned to what they need. The hour of departure came, and it was under great sadness we leave the village. We leave them in suspense whether we will be able to solve their water supply problems , and how their future will be.

 

The trip back was full of impressions for us. Friday was recovery day. We were really exhausted, and there was a day of reflection. There were also there on the food, and conversation about the living conditions in the country and how that have changed since last year.

Sunday we documented and summarized facts. A meeting with the Gambia team about stay, and future changes and plans were discussed. On Monday some drove to Kunta Kinte Island, Lisa and Marie visited God child Assan together with the organization Child Fund International and Kabba.

 

 

I've generally tried to describe what happened during our visit in The Gambia and Manduar, but know that several others in the team have kept a diary better than I had time to do. So I apologize for incorrect details in time and forgotten details. However, I will gladly come and show pictures and tell much more about the feelings and what they evoke., I want to assure all of you dear members you have been with us every day of our work in the Gambia!

 

 

Marie

Hänt i Veckan!
Kära AFFC-medarbetare!


Vi står nu i startgropen för årets resa till Manduar. Vi medför 150 kg förnödenheter till barnen och kvinnorna. Vi kommer att arbeta hårt den tid vi är där. Dokumentation i ord och bild kommer att ske och besök hos varje fadderbarnsfamilj.

Som alltid i Afrika är det så att de planer vi har inte alltid blir som vi tänkt oss men vi skall på bästa sätt förvalta den tid vi har där. Vi ska arbeta på flera områden; ordna ett hälso/sjukrum, dela ut kläder och saker, utveckla odlingsprojekten, bygga en spis till förskolan, utrusta kvinnornas syrum, instruera i hemsjukvård, vidareutbilda i sy- och stickkunskaper mm. Och det ska bli en stor glädje att få se den nybyggda förskolan!!

Jag vill försäkra er om att jag i mitt tal vid stora bymötet kommer att berätta om er alla, om allt ni gjort för dem i form av insatser, kläder, bindor och ekonomiskt stöd. Jag vet att det är så viktigt för dem att få en personlig bild av er alla här i landet långt borta, och det är min uppgift att delge den.

Jag vill också från affc tacka och hoppas att ni alla förstår att det är vi TILLSAMMANS som gör detta möjligt! Alla bitar i detta projekt är LIKA viktiga! Därför är ni, i olika form, med och delaktiga också nu på resan. Jag själv bär er med mig i mitt hjärta, och av den omtanke ni visat byn skall jag förmedla vidare. Ta väl hand om er och tänk på oss emellanåt!

 

Kära hälsningar från Marie, ordförande i AFFC.