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Donation of Sewing Machines and Footballs by Juniata College

The following are excerpts from an article written by Mr. Suwaibou Touray, editor of the Gambian "FOROYAA" newspaper.

Students of Juniata College in the United States of America led by Professor Emil Nagengast, who doubles as the Public Relations Manager in USA for Alliance for Democracy in Africa (Gambia chapter), are currently visiting The Gambia.

In a ceremony marking the occasion, Mr. Fabakary Badjie, a representative of the Alkalo of Tallinding thanked Prof. Nagengast and the students and asked for prayers. Dr. Madi Touray thanked the students and gave credit to all them. He emphasized that without them the gathering would not have taken place. He explained how he met the donors and thanked Prof. Nagengast for his contribution to ADA programs.

Prof. Nagensast told the beneficiaries that the students are in The Gambia for three weeks to learn about the country . He said they were happy to donate items to the women to help themselves. �What we focus on bringing are footballs and football gear and, most important, Madi says, are sewing machines for the women and all these items are donated by these students,� said Prof. Nagengast.

The visiting college professor said Alliance for Democracy in Africa (ADA) is now an international NGO and they supported some of their programs. Otto Nagensast, son of Professor Nagengast, who spoke on behalf of the students, said he was in The Gambia last year and he played football with students at Sait Maskah School. He saw that they did not put on shoes while playing. �Now that they have shoes, I am scared how they will play this time�, said Otto, also a student from Juniata College. �It is wonderful to support Dr. Touray and women with sewing machines,� he said.

Mrs. Maya Kunta of Tallinding said her group is involved in a self-help project and what they produce are soap powder, solid soap, tie dye, batik, etc, which they sell to the community and beyond. She said the raw materials are imported and that�s what makes the products expensive, making it difficult for them to make progress in the business. Maya said they are grateful to Prof. Nagengast and his students for their great contribution.

Aja Anna Ndong of Tobacco road in Banjul, the capital, representing a group called Kolareh, also thanked the students and said they are happy because the students are empowering them and their families since they are workers. "Next time we will be better prepared and we will display our products to you,� said Aja Anna Ndong of Banjul. She said they have not forgotten the late Mr. Ali Ceesay who introduced them to ADA and are praying for him and his children. She wished the students good luck in returning to their country safely and in peace.

Aji Yama Faal of Brusubi welcomed all the visitors and thanked them for what she called �these wonderful gifts�. She said they are engaged in similar programs but they are now exporting their goods abroad. She said, like many communities in Gambia, they have difficulty in paying their children�s school fees. She also said they have a football team in their neighborhood for small children in an academy that they are supporting and she invited the group to see how the children practise football.

Mrs. Mayang Sisawo of Fagi Kunda also said they are engaged in sewing. She said their group was given two sewing machines by ADA and they have employed two tailors and are making some income from it. �What is important is that when someone is helping you, you too should help yourself,� said Mayang. She said she knows that there are people in the US who also need these gifts but thanked the students for having the foresight and desire to bring them to The Gambia instead. She said they thank them for that and they too will do everything to make the best use of the donation.

Other speakers, like Ms. Renata Uphelders of Germany who helps ADA to train trainers, Mr. Alagie Saho, a Gambian who brings vehicles by driving from Europe, all hailed the students for their wonderful effort to help Gambian women to improve their lives.

Mr. Mang Jatta, Suwaibou Touray, and Sana Jatta, among many others, graced the occasion.

Football Team Awards Ceremony at Nyakoi High School

On January 10, 2011, an Awards Ceremoney was held at the Nyakoi High School in the Upper River Region, 238 miles east of the regional capital Basse, in honour of the visit of ADA members Alexandra Sianis and Eliman Gibba. Alex and Eliman had donated five footballs and football gear, including shirts and trousers, for ADA football teams at Nyakoi High School. The pictures below show students proudly demonstrating their new equipment.

Alliance for Democracy News Competition Awards Ceremony held at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School in Bakau

On May 22, 2010 ADA announced the winners of the inaugural �ADA News Competition� at the Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School in Bakau, The Gambia. The first place prize of 2000 Dalasis and a flashdrive were awarded to Alpha Jallow. The second place winner, Musa Drammeh, won 1000 Dalasis and a flashdrive. Third place, 500 Dalasis and a flashdrive, went to Buba Cham. In addition, prizes were given to all of the students who competed in this News Competition.

This competition was sponsored by the ADA and by Juniata College (USA). It was open to all members of the ADA student club at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School. For the past eight weeks these students were given free copies of each of the Gambia�s major newspapers. The competition tested the students� knowledge of Gambian and world events � based on the reporting in the Gambian newspapers. Professor Emil Nagengast of Juniata College and currently a visiting lecturer at the University of The Gambia stated, �good civic education is impossible if young people are not aware of what is happening in the world and in their country. Newspapers are the most important source of information about government policies. Likewise, the editorials are an essential way for young people to see many sides of key issues.�

Professor Nagengast�s son, Otto Nagengast, is an ADA Youth Ambassador and he assisted in the creation of the news competition. He awarded an ADA certificate to each student who participated this year.

The Secretary General and founder of ADA, Dr. Madi Touray, was proud of the students for their dedication to this civic education competition. He explained, �This is the first time that the ADA has organized an event like this and we hope to repeat this at Sheikh Mass Kah and other Gambian high schools that form ADA student clubs. Nyakoi Senior Secondary School in the Upper River Region (URR) has just formed an ADA club and we are working now with Juniata College to set up a news competition for them next year.�

The faculty advisor of the Sheikh Mass Kah ADA student club, Mr. Nyassi, spoke at the awards ceremony and he reminded his students that civic leadership depends upon hard work. He added, �Hopefully, you have all learned the benefits of reading the newspapers and of educating yourselves about current events. Now you must continue to focus on your own civic education.�

Radio Show Update

(courtesy of Ms. Laura Sager, ADA's Civic Education Program Coordinator)

ADA hosted four radioshows in January 2010 in The Gambia. The first one was on Thursday, January 7th, and dealt with the role of women in nation building.

On Thursday, January 14th, freedom of speech was the major topic, which included not only the private sector but also the role of the media.

On Thursday, January 21st, the focus was on south-north migration, discussing the reasons and consequences of illegal migration towards Europe.

Finally, on Thursday, January 28th, the topic was democracy and ethnicicity, where the role of tribalism during elections was discussed.

For the second and third events the guest speakers invited presented their approach to and opinion on the topics. ADA believes that it is part of the idea of democracy and civic education to give a broad argumentation, even though we don't share all of them. The audience had the chance to make up their own minds, and discuss within their families and communities.

Above, guest speaker Ali talks about the dangers of illegal migration from Africa to Europe.

Civic Education Programme

On Friday. December 4th, 2009 a Civic Education Programme was held by ADA in cooperation with the students' "ADA-Club" at Cheikh Maas Kah Upper Basic School. The main topic was THE ROLE OF YOUTH IN NATION BUILDING and three different approaches were developed by the students: Youth and Migration, Youth and Education, and Youth and Media.

Above, students participate in the Civic Education Program at the Cheikh Mass Kaa School

During the preparation phase, the ADA Programme Coordinator, Laura Sager, trained the students in terms of public speaking methods, modes of presentation and speech writing. As a result they were able to successfully present their speeches during the programme on December 4th in front of their fellow students and guests.

Mr. Ousman Seckan elaborated on the consequences of youth migration, which is a current problem in The Gambia. He pointed out the dangers of illegal migration to Europe, and the local possibilities that allow one to lead one's life successfully.

Miss Awa Ann Sanneh focused on the importance of education as youth will be the leaders of tomorrow. She named several areas, such as agriculture and health care, to demonstrate that education is the key to national development. She called for further development towards free education from grades 1 to 12.

Miss Binta Loum targeted the role of the media. A definition of media was given before she explained the possibilities and advantages as well as the dangers of the internet. She called for awareness in using the intenet as a source of education and serious information, although access is still too expensive for the great majority of students in The Gambia. Furthermore, Binta discussed the role of the print media and radio stations, which should focus more on young people's interests and their possibilities in terms of education.

Finally, Miss Amie Jaw summerized the main points of the three presentations before the Honourable Prof. Diop from the University of Oslo opened and led the discussion with the audience. The result was a call for the youth to gain self-confidence and take responsibility for their lifes and the development of their country, NOW!

Robert Cummings Institute for Governance launched in honor of
Dr. Robert Cummings

In recognition of the late Dr. Robert Cummings' contributions to ADA, the ADA Executive Committee in The Gambia honored him by creating a civic education program in his name, the "Robert Cummings Institute for Governance."

In collaboration with Actionaid International. the Robert Cummings Institute for Governance conducted a media program "Democracy and Good Governance in Africa" at Radio Gambia, which was broadcast every Thursday since 5th July, 2007 between 5:00PM and 6:00PM. The first phase of the program was completed on the 27th September 2007 and focused on the following topics:

  • Democracy and Good Governance in Africa
  • The Role of the Media in Promoting Good Governance
  • The Rule of Law and Good Governance
  • Decentralization and Good Governance
  • Effective People Participation and Good Governance
  • Gender and Good Governance
  • Human Rights, Freedoms and Good Governance in Africa

The program was very interactive, as listeners in different parts of Gambia, including Demba Kunda in Upper River Region, Saruja in Central River Region, Farafenni in North Bank Region, etc. called in and made positive comments on the usefulness of the discussions. They had the opportunity to ask questions as well as make comments about the program. The listeners commented on how the discussions increased their knowledge and understanding of the issues highlighted. The Institute also received telephone calls from listeners in Thies in Senegal, and they shared the positive impact of the program. In fact, they requested that a similar program be conducted for them in Thies.

During the evaluation exercise, it was recpmmended by numerous listeners in different parst of Gambia and Thies in Senegal that the program should continue. The final phase of this media program will begin on Thursday 11th October,2007.

ADA Youth Leader Conducts Arts and Crafts Workshop at Tallinding Nursery School

Miss Rehanna Jones-Boutaleb, ADA's youth ambassador, visited The Gambia from December 16-23, 2006 and conducted an arts and crafts workshop with the students of the Tallinding Nursery School. Rehanna divided the students into groups according to age, and helped the four to six year olds to make decorative masks, and the three year olds to decorate hearts which they could pin to their uniforms or backpacks. The activity came just before the end of term for the students and was clearly a welcome break from their usual lessons.

Rehanna was very impressed with the enthusiasm and appreciation with which she was received, as well as with the good behaviour of the young students. Special thanks go to Dr. Madi Touray for facilitating the visit and the staff of the school for their support. Rehanna plans to follow up on this activity through regular communications with the students and perhaps another visit at some future date.

The Role of Youth in Nation Building

A Seminar on "The Role of Youth in Nation Building" was held on March 27, 2004. One of the outcomes of this seminar was the creation of an ADA Committee on Youth and National Building. The committee members are:

  • Ms. Fatou Janneh, Chairperson
  • Mr. Abdou Jatta, Vice-Chairperson
  • Ms. Huja Mbye, Executive Secretary
  • Ms. Jabou Suso, Treasurer
The Committee decided that the following people will be asked to serve as Advisors:
  • Hon. Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay
  • Mrs.Amie Sillah

Second International Conference

The Alliance for Democracy in Africa., (ADA) hosted its 2nd annual international conference from August 5-8, 2003. The conference was held at Senegambia Beach Hotel. The theme of the conference was �Democracy and Human Development in Africa�.

Dr. Emma S. Etuk, an award-winning author of seven books and president of Emida International Publishers, Inc. (Emida1@yahoo.com), a USA-based book company, was one of the many presenters at this conference. His paper and presentation is on �Democracy Through Education in Africa�. Dr.Etuk played a key role in ADA�s first conference on demoncracy in Africa that was held at the same venue last year.

This year Dr. Etuk has arrived in Gambia with Mr. Mark Boersma, an American businessman and president of Synergy Solutions, Inc. (mboersma@synergysolutions.net), a company that assists �you to reach beyond your potential in all areas of your career and life�. Mark also brought his 13-year old son, Jonathan who is a gifted national speaker.

Mark and Jonathan were speakers at this conference. Also, they were in Gambia to explore ways of cooperation and collaboration with Gambian businessmen and women. Dr. Etuk, on his part, sponsors and helps train Gambian students in schools. Toward this end, he grants financial scholarships which he did last year and has repeated this year.

This sponsorship is part of the ADA vision and mission.

Literacy in The Gambia

The Alliance for Democracy in Africa (ADA) held an informal meeting and panel discussion on "Literacy in The Gambia" on November 5, 2002, at the Senegambia Beach Hotel in Banjul, The Gambia. Over 60 participants attended the event.

Panelists on "Literacy in The Gambia" included: Honorable Sidia Jatta, Member of Parliament and Secretary General of Wulli Adult Literacy Development Association (WALDA), Madi Touray, Secretary General, ADA, and Stephane Alrivy, Program Director, ADA.

ADA is currently funding two facilitators for women adult literacy classes in Wulli West constituency. This project is administered by the Wulli Adult Literacy Development Association (WALDA). At the meeting, ADA announced the funding of two additional facilitators for women adult literacy classes in Wulli East constituency.

ADA wishes to thank Mr. Saihou Sanyang, National Coordinator, National Governance Program, State House, Honorable Fabakary Tombong Jatta, Honorable Abdoulie Danagi Jawla, and Honorable Sidia Jatta from the National Assembly, members of the NGO community, the media, the management and staff at the Senegambia Beach Hotel, and the public for their support and contributions during the event.

International Conference on Democracy in Africa

The Alliance for Demoncracy in Africa organized an International Conference on Democracy in Africa between August 5th and 7th, 2002 at the Senegambia Beach Hotel, The Gambia.

The three-day international conference highlighted the following topics:

Mr. David Peterson, Program Director for Africa,
National Endowment for Democracy, U.S.A.
Mr. Sam M.L. Kinteh Executive Director,
National Council for Civic Education, The Gambia
Mr. Gabriel J. Roberts, Chairman,
Independent Electoral Commission, The Gambia

Dr. Emma S. Etuk, President,
Emida International Publishers,
Maryland, USA
Mr. Jonathan Aderonmu,
Director of Research and Development,
African Center for Democratic Governance, Nigeria

Dr. John Kalonge,
United Nations Resident Representative,
Fajara, The Gambia

The Honorable Jackson McDonald,
United States Ambassador to The Gambia

Honorable Sidia S. Jatta,
Member, National Assembly,The Gambia
Dr. Hayib Sosseh, Professor,
Northern Virginia Community College,
Virginia, U.S.A.

Over two hundred participants attended the three day international conference.

One of the outcomes of the 2002 International Conference on Democracy in Africa was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Assembly of The Gambia to establish a national Women's Literacy Project.

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Updated on February 6th, 2008 © Alliance for Democracy in Africa, 2001. All rights reserved.
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