The first phase of this period began with the full implementation of the Partnership Agreement between Actionaid International The Gambia, and ADA for the training of 35 male youths to acquire skills in wood work and carpentry.
The Gambian population is made up of 60 percent of youths who are largely marginalized in the decision making processes. This is largely so because most of these youths have low literacy levels and also lack skills for active participation in the development process. The problem of poor skills for youths is a global phenomenon and it threatens peace and stability as youths can easily be drawn into taking part in conflicts. This situation has also led to young able-bodied people moving from the rural areas into the urban centers where they get caught in various vices including drug abuse. Some youths have also attempted to go into Europe in search of greener pastures.
It is in recognition of the above issues that Actionaid in its new strategy calls for program intervention in the areas of youth empowerment and work in urban areas. It is in this light that the human security unit of Actionaid went into partnership with ADA to support identified youths in skills development as part of an empowerment process for self reliance and confidence building. At the end of the training period these young men will be assisted to set up their own income-generating projects in woodwork and carpentry. Some of the participants will also serve as trainers when the program is replicated in other areas across The Gambia.
Objectives of the Partnership
1. To engage youths in meaningful and gainful enterprises for self employment opportunities.
2. To contribute toward youth employment through skills development.
3. To use the youth empowerment pilot in advocacy and influencing other stake holders in adopting a similar approach in supporting the youths.
4. To engage youths in order to prevent them from becoming involved in illegal migration, drug abuse and other vices.
A skills training workshop has been established in Tallinding where thirty 35 youths are going through an apprenticeship program in woodwork and carpentry. The trainees are provided with tools and training materials from the funding of US$3,520 Actionaid provided to ADA. Sessions on drug abuse, illegal migration and other vices are conducted with the group and other youth groups, engaging other stake holders as part of advocacy and influencing.
Library Service at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School in Bakau
ADA, through the donation of books from its members, established a library for the students and their teachers at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School. Prior to the establishment of the library, students at the school used to study under trees in the school compound and this had a very negative impact on their performance. Both the students and their teachers make better use of the library and, since its establishment, students' performance has greatly improved Sometimes students from other schools including the University of The Gambia study at this library. Public lectures are also held at the library from time to time.
During this period ADA received volunteers, including Ms. Shiloe Mokay from Germany and Mr. Otto Nagengast and fellow students from Juniata College in USA, who taught students at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School in English Language, English Literature, Geography, Mathematics, Biology, and other subjects. They also helped with the running of the school library, in addition to participating in sensitization meetings organized by ADA women groups in the Greater Banjul Area.
Vegetable gardening is an ongoing project which helps women and their families improve their nutritional status, and part of their produce is sold and the income realized is saved in order to sustain project activities.
Tie and dye is another profitable income-generating activity and the materials are widely used in the Gambia and neighboring countries such as Senegal and Guinea Bissau, and the tourists also buy these products. The project trains women in the art of tie and dye and they in turn produce materials for the whole group instead of hiring outside labour to tie and dye the cotton fabric.
Soap making is another popular and very profitable income-generating enterprise for women, especially because imported soap is more expensive and its price continues to rise. Five to ten women members of the organization are trained in soap making. Such training usually takes a week and the women are then qualified enough to make a very popular soap power called "OMO." Once the soap power is made, it is sold to the members as well as to the general public. Sometimes women travel to sell their soap power at weekly markets organized in their communities and other surrounding villages.
ADA Activities Report 2011
January - March 2011
This period began with the arrival of Philipp Kohler, ADA Volunteer from Germany. Philip and Sana Jatta, ADA's Program Officer, went straight to Nyakoi High School in the Upper River Region in Wuli District which is 236 miles east of Banjul They held seminars on democracy through soccer and the issues they discussed included good governance at both the community and national levels, accountability, self reliance,etc.
This period marked the sensitization in Wuli West and Wuli East Districts on the importance of self reliance. ADA youths, both girls and boys, were urged to work harder so that the organization can financially stand on its own feet, or at least fifty percent of its operating budget can be provided for by its members. In other words, members,particularly the youths, were sensitized to understand that ADA will only continue to succeed if they take more responsibility in order to reduce the organization's dependence on donors. In fact, donors will respect the organization more when they know that our members are working very hard in order to sustain programs and projects without having to depend one hundred percent on them. The youths were made to understand that ninety percent of registered organizations in The Gambia cannot survive financially without outside support.
The outcome of this sensitization led to the establishment of maize and coos farms in Wuli West and Wuli East. The ADA youths established these farms as income generating projects. By the end of this year, the success or failure of these projects will become known because December will be the end of the harvest season here.
April - June 2011
This period witnessed the beginning of the planting season on ADA's maize and coos farms in Wuli West and Wuli East Districts.
It also marked the arrival of Ms. Anna Arenz from Network of Volunteers(VOLNET) organization in Germany. Anna came to serve as volunteer for ADA, and she was attached to Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School in Bakau, where she taught ADA members Information Technology focusing on areas such as Introduction to Computers, Microsoft Word, Excel, Access,and Powerpoint. Anna also participated in sensitization meetings with ADA women groups in Serrekunda, Faji kunda, Tallinding,etc.
During this quarter, the ADA Secretariat received a delegation of students and their professor from Juniata College, USA. The delegation was led by Professor Emil Nagengast who also serves as ADA's Public Relations Manager in the USA. The college donated sewing machines and footballs to the communities and a ceremony was held in their honour.
July - December 2011
ADA youth groups in Wuli West and Wuli East Districts spent the most part of this period working on their maize and coos farms in Sutukonding, Bantunding and Sutukoba The members experienced total crop failure in Sutukonding because the rains there stopped well before the maturity of the maize crop. The members there did not incur any financial loss because the maize seeds were donated by some of the farmers in the community. There was no contractual labor because the members themselves worked on the farm free of charge. However, the experiences in Bantunding and Sutukoba were more positive because the members in those communities had a very successful harvest. The market value of the coos they harvested was US$7,000.
ADA's Information Technology training at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Seconday School in Bakau, advanced remarkably during this period. In addition to the support ADA receives from the VOLNET organization in Germany, the organization also received support from volunteers Julia Ward, Jillian Casey, Chelsea, and Thomas from Elizabeth Town College in Pennsylvania, USA. Claire and Alex Hoskin,from Boston University and the University of Oregon at Eugene, USA, respectively, also helped with the training of ADA members at the above school. In addition to working with Anna Arenz in the area of Information Technology training, they also taught the students English language, Economics, Mathematics, and Government. About three hundred students benefited from this training program.
The Nima Gibba Center for Women and Youth Development was also established in Farato in the Western Region during this phase. The center is currently running a nursery school where 70 girls and boys are taught to read and write. A tie and dye project as an income generating project for 600 women has also been established at the center.
As part of the capacity building of of our volunteer staff, training workshops were organized in the areas of financial management and proposal writing. Participants in these workshops included ADA's Program Officer as well as the Administration and Finance Officer.
Finally, a one year partnership agreement was signed with Actionaid International in order to train 35 young men in woodwork and carpentry in Tallinding. The objectives of the partnership are as follows: to engage the youths in meaningful and gainful enterprises for self employment opportunities; to contribute towards youth empowerment through skills training; to use the youth empowerment pilot in advocacy and influencing other stakeholders in adopting a similar approach in supporting the youths; to engage the youths in order to prevent them from becoming involved in illegal migration to Europe, and the U.S.A., as well as drug abuse and other vices.
ADA Activities Report 2010
January - March 2010
This first quarter's activities began with Ms. Laura Sager's Wolof Language Training. Laura was sent by Net Work of Volunteers (VOLNET) in Germany to serve as a volunteer for Alliance for Democracy in Africa(ADA) in The Gambia. In order to do her job better, Laura felt that she needed to know how to speak one of the major ethnic language in The Gambia, and in this regard she chose to study the Wolof Language. The late Ali Ceesay did a wonderful job in training Laura how to speak Wolof. The training program also included cross-cultural orientation which enabled Laura to live and work comfortably in a different cultural environment.
Radio Talk Shows on "The Role of Women in Nation Building","Illegal Migration to Europe","Democracy and Ethnicity", and "Freedom of Speech" were aired by The Gambia Radio. Knowledgeable Guest Speakers on the above issues were invited as Panelists,and their presentations were done in English and the three main ethnic languages in The Gambia, Mandinka,Pulaar and Wolof. Anyone with a radio in any part of the country had access to the radio talk show. During the question and answer sessions, calls were received from all over the country, and also came from as far as Guinea Bissau and Dakar in Senegal. The feedback received from the audience was that the program should continue because people found it very useful and educative.
During this phase, the late Ali Ceesay also conducted Facilitator Training for ten of ADA's Literacy Facilitators in Busumbala and Farato for a period of two weeks. In other words, this training was a Training of Trainers Workshop(TOT),and at the end of the workshop the Facilitators were deployed in ADA branches in order to teach women to read and write.
A Partnership agreement was established between ADA and Juniata College in Pennsylvania in USA. This agreement will address areas of mutual interest as will be seen in the next phases.
April - June 2010
The "Democracy Through Soccer Project" was established at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School in Bakau and Nyakoi high School in Wulli West District in the Upper River Region of The Gambia. Soccer is the most popular activity for youth in The Gambia. Thus,the creation of female and male soccer teams in these schools and the soccer competitions they conducted generated much interest in ADA and, consequently, our membership continues to grow in these communities. Through the soccer project, students and their teachers also conducted civic education seminars on democracy, good governance, the rule of law, what constitutes good citizenship, etc.
Professor Emil Nagengast(ADA's Public Relations Manager for the U.S.), his students from Juniata College in USA and his son Otto Nagengast, ADA Youth Ambassador, also trained members in Information Technology focusing on Microsoft Word, Access, Excel,and Powerpoint. More than two hundred students at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Seconday School benefitted from this training program.
Professor Nagengast, with the support of his wife Kati and Otto, established a Quizz Competition project for ADA's members at Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary. Gambian newspapers were distributed among the students weekly for a period of six weeks. This project generated a lot of interest within the school community, and at the end of the Quiz Competition cash prices in addition to school supplies were given to students. Even those who did not win in the competition were given consolation prices in the form of computer chips, shoes, school bags, pens,etc.
This quarter also witnessed the establishment of a partnership between ADA and Rotherdam University of Applied Sciences, as well as Saxon University in Holland. In this partnership, these universities will send their students to assist ADA members in the areas of Information Technology Training, and ADA will guide and support their students in their research projects and any other activities relevant to their fields of studies.
July - December 2010
ADA activities during the last six months of 2010 were devoted to the intensive training of our members, in order to deepen the knowledge and skills they learned during the previous months. Through ADA's partnership with Rotherdam University of Applied Sciences as well as Saxon University in Holland, Mr. Barba Mackie came to The Gambia and successfully participated in our Information Technology Training Workshop. Mr. Mackie along with other trainers, trained one hundred and twenty girls and seventy boys in Information Technology focusing on introduction to computers, Powerpoint, Excel, file management, tables, and internet training. These individuals were new members who had no previous knowledge and experience with computers and the internet.
In addition, forty young adult women were also trained and they acquired skills in sewing, tie dye, soap making, and cloth weaving. These women in turn serve as trainers who train other women in their communities.
The Executive Committee members of ADA-The Gambia Chapter were also trained in the art of proposal writing. The ability to write good project proposals is an asset for the organization, especially as we move towards depending more on our own resources and skills for the development of our programs and projects. Several proposals were written and sent to various funding agencies.
Finally, in December 2010, the Democracy Through Soccer "Presentation Ceremony of Soccer Gear" was held at at Nyskoi High School, Wulli West District in the Upper River Region. The soccer gear was the generous gift of members Eliman Gibba and Alexandra Sianis who visited The Gambia during this period.
ADA Activities Report 2009
January - March 2009
Sensitization of new ADA branch members in Banjul South, Banjul North, Tallinding, Bundung Borehole, Bundung Central, Faji Kunda, Brusubi, Busumbala, and Farato: all within the Greater Banjul Area, on its mission and vision, importance for self reliance as opposed to excessive dependence on outside support, responsibilities individual members have to take to ensure success for the activities in their branches, evaluation of language training and income-generating activities in the branches. More transparency and accountability at the branch executive committee levels, involvement of branch executive committee members in making major decisions in their branches, the value of brainstorming exercises in making group decisions.
Monitoring of literacy classes in Tallinding and Kampasa
Intervention in a dispute between branch members and their facilitator, who was later dismissed by them
Planning of the Civic Education Program on "The Role of Youth in Nation-Building" with Mr. Bah, Principal of Sheikh Mass Kah Senior Secondary School
April - June 2009
Recruitment of more new members in the following branches: Brusubi, Brikama, Kampassa, Dutabulu, Jarumeh Koto, Sutukonding, Sutukoba, and Foday Kunda, and their orientation in the organization's mission, vision and values including the importance of self reliance
Training exercise for skills transfer in the areas of soap making, tie dye and batik, vegetable gardening, and rice cultivation were also conducted
Capacity development for ADA's administrative staff, which focused on office management, project planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluations
Launching of ADA branch at Paradise Suite Hotel
Meeting woman's group in Farato to plan further development
Opening of bank accounts for seven branches at Trust Bank, which are held and controlled by the women
Language and Cultural Orientation for Dr. Hulton, Swarthmore College, and Renata Uphelders, leading the NGO "Each One Teach One"
One Day Workshop at Sheikh Mass Kah SSS
July - September 2009
Workshop on "Report Writing" particularly focusing on project reports, which generally deal with project goals, objectives, successes and/or failures: Techniques used in writing reports that are concise, precise, and accurate
“Proposal Writing" workshop and its importance as a tool for fund raising: Technical writing skills on introduction, statement of the problem, objectives, methodology, evaluations, organizational capacity, budgeting, etc. were addressed. A project proposal on "Good Governance and Business are Essential Factors to Development" was written as a consequence of the workshop
Sensitization meeting with branches executives concerning "Membership Recruitment", which will go towards their facilitator's allowances
Meeting with Youth Wing Executive; opening of Youth Wing account
Meeting with National Assembly Members regarding the development of ADA activities, particularly literacy classes in their various constituencies
Meeting with women’s groups in Busumbala and Farato concerning their income generation activities
Farato, Faji Kunda, Bundung and Busumbala branches convene a sensitization meeting for their executives at Busumbala
Meetings with ADA branches in Banjul and Brushubi
October - December 2009
Arrival of ADA's Civic Education Program Coordinator, Laura Sager from Germany. As part of her orientation, Laura and Madi Touray, on behalf of ADA, paid courtesy calls to the following individuals and their organizations: Ambassador John P. Bojang (Chairman National Council for Civic Education), Mr. Famara Dampha and Alh. Musa Manneh (Gambia Radio and Television Services G.R.T.S.), Dr. Kujejatou Manneh (Country Director Actionaid International), Honorable Sulayman Joof (Chairman National Assembly Select Committee on Education and Training). Latest ADA Activities were shared with these individuals and plans for 2010 drawn
Regional meeting for ADA members in Farato and Busumbala branches was held in Busumbala: progress reports on their soap making income generating activity were discussed, as well as the recruitment of more new members and other fund-raising activities. Plans were set for the training of language teachers, who will begin teaching women to read and write as well as business skills in February 2010
Dr. Niklas Hultin and Madi Touray wrote two project proposals on Civic Education, and Professor Hultin secured funding from Swarthmore College (USA) for four radio talk shows on:
"The Role of Women in Nation Building"
"International Migration from South to North"
"Democracy and Ethnicity"
"Freedom of Speech"
Meeting with ADA Youth Executive
Meeting with Laura's Volunteers Organisation VolNet Germany in Brikama: the agreement to develop a MOU was made