Aug 14, 2008, 5:10 AM
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency ADRA Country Director for The Gambia and Sierra Leone, Mrs. Beryl Aseno Nyamwange, recently concluded a six day working visit to the country.
During her visit, the ADRA country boss held series of meetings with government departments and institutions. The first point of call for Madam Nyamwange was the Department of State for Basic and Secondary Education where she was received by Mr.Jallow, Director of Planning at the said department.
The meeting kicked off with the ADRA Gambia Program Director, Mr. Landing Sanneh, introducing the ADRA delegation and spelling out the motive behind the courtesy call. Mr. Sanneh said that the objective of the meeting was to introduce ADRA to the government and to discuss possible areas of collaboration for future development projects that would be geared towards the development and advancement of The Gambia for the achievement of Vision 2020 and the MDGs. The Program Director gave a brief explanation regarding the aims and objectives of ADRA, its intervention areas, current work in The Gambia and its legal status. He said that Adventist Development and Relief Agency is an international non governmental organization (NGO) operating in more than 125 countries around the world with its headquarters in Maryland, USA.
For her part, Mrs. Nyamwange thanked Mr. Jallow for welcoming them into his office. The Action Lady of ADRA stated that the goal of their NGO is to work with people in poverty and distress, to create just and positive change through empowering partnerships and responsible actions. She noted that ADRA-Gambia is currently implementing a 2 year project on girls' scholarship that is sponsoring 48 girls and her NGO would be interested in knowing areas where they could cooperate with government.
Director Jallow in response thanked the ADRA Country Director and delegation for the visit.
He also said that government prioritizes girls' education and that resulted to the emergence of some projects to support girls education among them is the President's Empowerment for Girls Education Project (PEGEP) and the Ambassador's Girls Scholarship Project. Mr. Jallow went on to say that government would partner in supporting girls education in the rural areas.
Mr. Bonsrah asked whether government was implementing any adult literacy program. The Planning Director answered in the affirmative by saying that the Education Department has its own Adult Literacy Program. "Owing to the problems we encountered in coordinating the program, we now shifted the responsibility to our development partners (NGOs, CBOs and CSOs) to carry out the implementation of the adult literacy project," Mr. Jallow stated. He further indicated that his department has funds available which NGOs could tap for the implementation of the adult literacy program.
After the question and answer session, the ADRA Gambia Program Director, Mr. Landing Sanneh, thanked the Director of Planning for the time he has taken to meet the ADRA delegation and expressed the hope that follow-up meetings would be held in the near future. Mr. Sanneh stressed the need for the signing of an MOU with the Department of State for Basic and Secondary Education. The ADRA Gambia Country Director also extended her sincere greetings to the Secretary of State for Basic and Secondary Education through the Director of Planning.
The next point of call was the Headquarters of the National AIDS Secretarial at FIBBuilding, along Kairaba Avenue where a successful meeting was held with the Deputy Director of the Secretariat Mr. Bai Cham.
At the AIDS Secretariat, the Program Director of ADRA Gambia Mr. Landing B Sanneh, introduced the ADRA delegation to the Deputy Director of the National AIDS Secretariat.
Mr. Sanneh said that the visit was aimed at introducing ADRA Gambia to NAS and to discuss possible areas of partnership as HIV/AIDS forms part of their development initiatives. ADRA Country Director, Mrs. Nyamwange, thanked the Deputy Director of the National AIDS Secretariat for accepting their request for a courtesy call at a short notice. She requested to know areas that ADRA Gambia could cooperate with NAS.
Mr. Cham for his part, revealed that the National AIDS Secretariat was established in 2001 by the National AIDS Council under the President's Office. NAS, according to Mr. Cham, is supported by government with funding from international bodies. The NAS Director stated that they had funding from World Bank which supported their program for 5 years and that program ended in 2006.
He further revealed that Global Fund has approved a project at a tune of 35 million Euros of which the prevention aspect has been given to Action Aid and NAS will handle the treatment and health aspect. Mr. Cham further stated that Action Aid has already identified 6 Sub Recipients for the HIV/AIDS Prevention project and NAS has identified 7 Sub Recipients for the Treatment and Health component. There will be stakeholder meetings which will give approval to genuine NGOs and other partners to intervene in HIV/AIDS, the NAS Deputy Director noted.
Mr. Bai Cham reaffirmed his department willingness to work with ADRA Gambia in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The last point of call for the ADRA delegation was at the Department of State for Heath and Social Welfare. The ADRA delegation was received by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Saikou Janneh.
There a similar successful meeting was also convened.
After that brief meeting with the Permanent Secretary, ADRA delegation proceeded to the office of the Chief Public Health Officer, Mr. Samba Konteh for another brief meeting.
At the end of the meeting, the ADRA delegation thanked the Chief Public Health Officer for taking his time to discuss important issues with them.
ADRA visiting delegation visited Gam Cashew Limited at Lamin village in Kombo North District of Western Region. At the Gam Cashew centre in, ADRA delegation was received on arrival by the staff of Gam Cashew Limited. The Seventh Adventist Mission Director of the Gambia, Pastor Smith, declared the meeting open after making an introduction of the visiting team.
Mrs. Beryl Aseno Nyamwange, said that the visit was a follow up to her 2007 visit. She noted that it was aimed at knowing the successes and the challenges of Gam Cashew Limited.
Ebrima Jarju, the President of Gam Cashew said that he started the cashew processing business in 2006 after completing 2 years training in Guinea Bissau on cashew processing at his own expense which was organized by USAID. At this point in time, Mr. Jarjue went on; his business is not running as the demand for his products is higher than his supply.
The Chief Supervisor, Mr. Beyai responded by saying that they produce 20kg to 50kg every 2 weeks with 2 machines. The Country Director again requested to know the number of staff of Gam Cashew Ltd and the level of participation of women in the cashew nut processing project. Again the President of Gam Cashew answered by saying that they have 15 staff in total which comprised of both men and women.