Apr 21, 2016, 12:01 PM
Officials of The Gambia Longevity through Village Enterprise widely known as the “GLOVE Project”, a registered charity organization in the UK and the Gambia last Tuesday visited their pilot projects in the village of Cheesay in the Lower Niumi district of the North Bank Region.
Led by Jackie Church (Aminata Sonko), the coordinator and brain behind the GLOVE Project, the officials, which included sponsors from the UK and its Gambia coordinator Abdoulie Corr, were in Cheesay village to see for themselves their projects and plan for future interventions.
The visit also witnessed the inauguration of a borehole with four taps and the presentation of gifts to the community of Cheesay and some medical equipment to Essau Health Centre.
The donation includes two mobile HB testers, which, according to health officials, will ensure that pregnant women no longer travel long distances to have their blood tested at labs as these are rare machines that will benefit the rural communities in Nuimi.
In welcoming the delegation to Essau Health Centre, the chief of Essau, Fabakary Nana Sonko described the gesture as timely, noting that GLOVE Project continues to serve as partners in national development.
While advising the beneficiaries to make best use of the donated medical items, chief Nana Sonko used the opportunity to call on the donors to continue the kind gesture for the benefit of the whole region.
For his part, Baboucarr Choi, regional principal public health officer, North Bank Region, hailed the donors through the GLOVE Project coordinator Jackie Church for their effort in ensuring that the community of Essau benefit from medical items, which, he said, is one of the most important tools in any health centre.
Abdou Jammeh, regional health director, North Bank Region also lauded the donors for the gesture, which he said, will go a long way in reducing some of the burden affecting them at the health centre.
Speaking at the official handing over ceremony of the borehole and taps in Cheesay village, Jackie Church, coordinator of the project, explained how the project came to intervene in Cheesay village, saying it started two years back when they visited the village and found that the community were living in a deplorable condition.
‘Most of the people were suffering from malnutrition, high blood pressure, swollen legs and other related diseases but after seeing all these, I felt very sad and sympathetic for the community,’ she stated.
According to her, it was against this that the GLOVE Project felt it necessary to provide the community with medical assistance working in close collaboration with the regional health department as well as the Ministry of Health.
Jackie stated that during the process, recommendations were made in improving the nutritional status of the people in the community as well as to get a well trained health officer who will deal with hypertension, serious ulcers and wounds and also get pregnant women appropriately monitored.
‘We are very lucky to be able to provide a trained nurse for the village as well as the needed medicines and monitoring equipment,’ she added.
Highlighting some of the intervention areas of the GLOVE Project in Cheesay village, which includes safe drinking water, sanitation, fenced community farms with wells, a visitors house where doctors and nurses can stay, sponsorship for school children, bicycles among others, Jackie said the project has now trained one woman from each compound in the village and engaged them in their own small businesses including tie and dye and soap making.
She also revealed that three donkeys have also been donated to assist villagers in their farms, with the villagers themselves identifying which families the donkeys are to be given.
‘Eighteen bags of millet seed were also donated during last year’s rainy season to help boost agricultural production and productivity. This greatly helped in improving the nutritional status of the village as a whole,’ she stated.
A major ongoing intervention for the project, Jackie went on, is the building of a nursery school, which will benefit neighboring villages.
She also disclosed that Football Gambia, a partner to GLOVE Project, is funding the school and hoping this will be a three phase project to incorporate a health clinic, community centre and a primary school.
“Although there is a major input on health at this time including the bringing over to Gambia of doctors and nurses from the UK, the GLOVE Project is not only about health but its aim is to fully develop the village in order to assist the beneficiaries become self sufficient,’ she said.
She disclosed that the project plans to build a commercial Tapalapa bakery for the village hopefully before the rainy season and deliver a harrow plough to the village to further assist in agricultural productivity as well as serve as an income generating tool for the benefit of the whole village.
Jackie used the occasion to thank the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Department of Agriculture and the district chief for their ongoing support to the project, noting that without their support, the project would not have succeeded.
She also commended President Yahya Jammeh for creating the conducive environment for them to be able to assist rural communities.