Aug 28, 2013, 11:15 AM
On the third day of the Tobaski, the association cleared all the three major routes to the village rice fields, completed the fencing of one of the sides of the village cemetery and bricked several bags of cement to be used in fencing the other sides of the burial site.
Speaking on the occasion, Lamin Jahateh, secretary general of JSDA, said the works are a culmination of several discussions of what the association can do for the village that would not cost too much money.
The JSDA is young and lacks the financial might to embark on certain development projects in the village.
“So we decided that we (members of the JSDA in the Kombos) should converge in Sittanunku on the third day of Tobaski to do certain labour work that need to done at the moment,” he said.
“Upon discussion with the village folks, particularly the youth, it emerged that the routes to the rice fields are very bushy, need to be cleared and some work need to be done at the cemetery as well.So this is how we embarked on these ventures and we were able to do a significant amount of work just within a day as we have the strength of numbers.”
Chairman Sanusi Darboe of JSDA expressed his delight with the work, saying the magnitude of the work done has shown that there is nothing but strength in unity.
“As I always say, individuals and even nations have realised that individually they can do very little; so the need for them to unite and to be able to do bigger and greater things,” he said.
Mr Darboe said the village convergence, dubbed ‘the coming home’ is part of the JSDA’s ongoing mobilisation, to mobilise the youth based in the village to organise themselves and set up the village chapter of the association.
According to him, the birth of JSDA signals the dawn of a new era in the development of Sittanunku village.
“Sittanunku is not the only village in rural Gambia. While most of the other villages are beginning to realise themselves as part of the community of The Gambia, Sittanunku lacks that because we don’t have the many basic social amenities like some of the villages have,” Mr Darboe said.
“In The Gambia today, we have a government where the president is saying every part of the country is a capital,” he noted. “This is because villages are enjoying what the capital is but Sittanunku is not enjoying that.I believe this is because we are not organised and JSDA is here to bring that organisation to the community and more importantly bring development to our own village.”
Mamudou Sillah, public relations officer of the association, said even though some people were initially hesitating to join the JSDA, gradually the membership is increasing as more and more people begin to embrace the ideals of the association.
He said the work done at the village served as a manifestation to others that JSDA is up to nothing but the development of Sittanunku.
“Even though the main association is based in Kombo, any development we have will come to the village,” he said, calling on people of Sittanunku descent, both paternal and maternal, to come on board to register with the association.
Village chapter formed
Meanwhile, at the night of the second day of Tobaski, the association called a general meeting at the village bantaba where the JSDA was formally introduced to the villagers and the formation of the village chapter, which is to serve as a subsidiary of the main body in Kombo, was discussed.
Subsequently, Alagie Manneh commonly called Bambo, was nominated as the coordinator of the village chapter.
He was given the initial task of setting up the village coordinating committee and see to it that the village chapter is vibrant.
During the night meeting, Dada Manneh, one of the advisers of the association, expressed delight with the operations of the JSDA.
Mr Manneh said the love and aim-for-development that he has for Sittanunku is being furthered through the establishment of JSDA.
The village statesman advised the leadership of JSDA to be patient and be ready to sacrifice for the association.
“To be a leader of an association is not easy, you need to give your utmost efforts and be willing to sacrifice your time and even money for the association,” he advised.“Don’t undermine one another; always complement the efforts of one another.”
JSDA is a not-for-profit, non-religious and non-partisan community-based organisation formed in January 2015 by people of Sittanunku decent, both paternal and maternal.
The aims and objectives of the association include supporting socio-economic development of the village in all areas including education, health, agriculture, culture, and sports; and complementing the efforts of the government and the village authority.