Management and Board Members of Kombo North Federation over the weekend met
with influential community leaders at the Lamin Health Center.
The daylong interface forum between community, influential leaders, staff and board members of the federation, parents and enrolled children in the ChildFund sponsorship programme, was on the theme: “Promote community ownership and participation in child protection.”
Speaking at the forum, the Kombo North Federation Manager, Alieu Mendy, said the purpose of the forum was to meet and discuss with parents, partner institutions, stakeholders and influential leaders on issues of concern affecting their sponsored children, and carve the way forward for effective sponsorship management in the district.
It was envisaged that such a mega interface forum was necessary to map out sustainable approaches to the sponsorship management of child development in the district.
Mr Mendy also added that the forum was meant to serve as an opportunity for parents and influential leaders to interact and exchanges ideas, for better understanding of their role and responsibility towards their sponsored children, and also to clear any doubts or concerns regarding their sponsored children.
He explained that Kombo North Federation is a community-based organisation affiliated to ChildFund The Gambia, and comprises five different community clusters namely, Bijilo, Sinchu Sori, Banjulinding, Lamin and Makumbaya, all within the Kombo North district of the West Coast Region.
The federation manager also disclosed that the Kombo North Federation office in Banjulinding is mainly to support parents of deprived, excluded and vulnerable children and youths to acquire requisite education, nutrition and livelihood skills to participate in national development.
Mr Mendy also said the Kombo North Federation is a registered community-based organization (CBO) under the Anthony General Chambers and under the Companies Act as a non-profit making entity.
He expressed appreciation about the level of participation of the influential leaders and parents, specially the Paramount Chief of The Gambia who has been very active in the implementation of ChildFund activities since day one.
According to the federation manager, the interface forum was the first of its kind in the history of the federation, and was one of the most successful forums ever conducted by the federation in Kombo North.
Mr Mendy also dilated on the coverage, structure, vision, mission and intervention areas and approaches used by the federation.
He said among the intervention activities was to select household backyard gardening for increase vegetable intake at household level; conduct environmental sanitation campaign across the CAs for safe and clean environment for children; and, also support parents in meeting the needs of enrolled children and medical bills .
Other intervention activities include to support parents in paying the tuition bills of enrolled children, now done through economic empowerment of families through established cluster revolving loans, as well as conduct a monthly radio programme on sponsorship and general development activities.
In his remarks at the forum, the Paramount Chief of The Gambia, Alhaji Demba Sanyang, praised to the Almighty Allah and the Gambian leader for creating the conducive environment for the peace and tranquility the country continues to enjoy in the sub-region.
He also thanked the management and board of the Kombo North Federation through their manager for their foresight and brilliant idea in organising the interface forum.
He described this type of forum as very timely and necessary, in the sense that it was all geared towards bringing more understanding and a cordial relationship between the parents and management of the federation, so as to ensure smooth operation of their sponsored children.
Paramount Chief Demba Sanyang also called on the parents to take the federation seriously and take ownership of the federation, as it is out to help parents to have quality education for their sponsored children.
The Paramount Chief also urged the Alkalolu, parents and women in particular to work hand in glove with the Kombo North Federation, while commending women for their firm stance towards the welfare of their children
Paramount Chief Sanyang also commended the manager of the Kombo North Federation and his team for their hard work, and commitment in sensitising parents on the current status of their sponsored children.
Momodou Jallow, regional area manager ChildFund office based in Brikama, spoke extensively on the new global strategy and other relevant issues relating to the work of ChildFund.
According to him, ChildFund’s support is all geared towards complementing the government’s efforts, as government alone could not do it all.
He said the participation of all and sundry, especially parents and influential community leaders is key, adding that Kombo North Federation management and board members coming up with this kind of interface forum with community influential leaders and parents, was worthy of commendation.
He said the forum was very timely and long overdue, as it would help to clear many doubts about the role of the influential community leaders and the federation with respect to the sponsored children.
Mr Jallow also highlighted the relationship between the federation and ChildFund office, which he said workS through agreed annual operational plans and budgets, all geared towards the development and protection of children.
Among the issues emerging from the meeting, which was chaired by Dembo Kuyateh, staff of the federation, was the address of sponsored children which was a major concern.
Also Kombo North Federation was urged to make a follow up on the commitment highlighted in the forum, to have more sensitisation at the village level.
The forum attracted about twenty-five village heads and their VDC chairpersons.