#Article (Archive)

Baby Steps on Our Road to Development

Jan 27, 2009, 5:20 AM

Congratulations to those lucky students who were over the weekend the beneficiaries of six scholarships. The prizes came through the Centre for Youth, Women and Child Development and were funded by the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge. This is indeed a happy partnership as it not only benefits the children themselves and their education but also the nation as a whole in the future when these children will use their education to further the development of The Gambia. This is a good example of the kind of thing that can be achieved when civil society organizations in The Gambia work together closely with partners and donors from overseas to bring education to all. Many say that in the fields of health and education that the government cannot be expected to do everything. We disagree with this statement and believe that the government most definitely should. We do however understand and realize that resources are short and that it is necessary for everyone who can help to help. This should not however absolve the government of any responsibility in striving to ensure that every child is educated and every sick person treated through our state education and health services.

President Jammeh stated, in his recent speech at the fifth convocation ceremony at The University of The Gambia, "If foreigners can give their all for the university, what about we Gambians?" This is a very fair statement and shows that the president is aware of the shortcomings of the government in terms of what they can afford to give to the university. This fact accepted we must move away from depending on money from abroad in terms of expanding our educational and health infrastructure. We speak regularly and rightly about the need for food self sufficiency but we must also strive for self sufficiency in all areas. Only if we achieve this can we develop to our full potential. Nobody wishes to be indebted to anyone for what they have or feel they have it because it was merely handed to them. We all wish to earn, achieve and benefit not only ourselves but those around us and the nation as a whole. We look forward to the expansion of the university in the coming years but more so we look forward to a time when we have a fully functional basic and secondary education system with facilities, materials and fully trained and qualified teachers that is completely non-reliant on donations from abroad or aid of any kind.