gifts to five communities include two D550,000 boreholes to Barajally and
Touba Kunda; two power tillers and a multipurpose milling machine for maize,
coos and rice for Wassu; and D150, 000 borehole maintenance projects for
Kuntaur Fula Kunda.
“These are absolutely non-political interventions by our NGO,” CEO Modou Turo Darboe said at the gathering of thousands of people from surrounding villages. Since the morning on Saturday, 24 February, they spent the morning reciting the Quran and seeking God’s blessings; the afternoon singing, drumming and dancing in anticipation of the visit of the delegation from Vision Development Foundation in Banjul.
Niani District, Central River Region is well known for its farming activities, especially rice. However, hundreds of hectares of rice fields were flooded last year during heavy rains, making them dependent on food aid. Houses were demolished and farmlands waterlogged. They now need a fresh start for the next farming season and the prayers being sought were meant to, among many other things, avoid a repetition of similar floods.
“Our interventions are not political. We are non-government, pro-poor organisation and we neither seek name, nor position or votes in return,” Mr. Darboe told, adding this work has been on for 25 years.
One of the speakers came to the podium with a light-brownish, 1.5 liters of water reportedly from the well the villagers have been drinking for decades.
“UNICEF visited us and said the water is not fit for consumption. We are vulnerable to cholera and other diseases without your intervention,” said Koba Conteh of Niani Touba village.
Their problem is similar to most of the other five communities and the NGO came in a big way: “We have sent in a fact-finding mission to assess what your needs are and our interventions are guided by that report,” Mr. Darboe told them, promising that the boreholes would be ready in two weeks.
The two D550, 000 cheques were issued to an Indian company to begin works in earnest. Other cash donations were made to the various mosques, the police in Wassu, with a promise to build a first-class station to boost security in the area; and the Village Development Committees of selected communities to use funds in addressing community needs.
Saikou Fofana, coordinator of the VDF reiterated the non-political nature of their intervention and urged beneficiaries to make the best use of the aid packages. “Our interventions are meant to help you sustain your livelihoods and minimize difficulties you face in your various communities,” he added.