Jun 6, 2008, 5:54 AM
Omar Manneh, Administrator and Board Member of Kutejumbulu/2BaB Foundation, an NGO registered in The Gambia in 2007 and based in Jinack Kajateh Village in Lower Niumi District, North Bank Region, has highlighted their major achievements in health, education and agriculture, and the plans for the foundation.
Mr Manneh, who was speaking to this reporter on Thursday, added that the foundation was established to support the development of women and children of the island.
It first contacts with the people was established in 2006 but the NGO was registered in 2007 when it started its development activities in support of women, he said.
The request from the women of Kutejumbulu group in Jinack Kajateh village was made to support them with health service delivery, education of their children, as well as use the income generated from agriculture to keep their families, he stated.
Jinack is located in the North Bank Region of the country about 15 kilometers from the nearest health post (Essau Major Health Centre) with no road connection, he noted, adding that for this reason, health was a problem, especially for pregnant women and child-bearing mothers.
He disclosed that a weekly or monthly visit to Essau Health Centre was always a problem as they would some times walk 15 kilometers to and fro, for which they had to prioritorize health as the most pressing area of their intervention since women were in need of it.
He said when they met with their sponsors from Holland with the support of the Government of The Gambia, they were able to establish a ten-bed modern fully furnished clinic run by the Ministry of Health with a midwife and an assistant.
In 2009, he went on, the movement of children and pregnant woman to Essau Health Centre was stopped, adding that economic-wise, it saved a lot of resources for the women with the health factor also addressed successfully by the NGO and the Ministry of Health.
In education, he continued, they considered quality education of children so that tomorrow they could be responsible people and be in position to support their parents, as well as contribute to national development.
Through the support of the Government of The Gambia they were able to upgrade the school from a Basic Cycle to an Upper Basic, he remarked, plans were also under way for a senior school.
He said their third project was income generation that covered the sustainability part of their project.
“Together with the women we also ventured into agricultural project for the community,” he further said, adding that over 20 hectares of land had been allocated by the communities and development by the NGO with boreholes and tractors.
The farming activities started in 2010, to address the income base of the women, the foundation administrator said.
He described the farm as a future income source for the sustainability of the NGO and their plan for the three projects was to ensure sustainability, which he said was a very important factor.
On the health aspect, he stated, they want to continue to improve the quality of service at the clinic after the building of a superb structure with a new ambulance.
He said they had sponsored a nurse who was doing his BA on medicine at the University of The Gambia and upon graduation would be posted by the Ministry of Health to Jinack.
“We are not limiting it to the development of the community farm in Bakairndik but individually the NGO is supporting women with seeds for the production of onion, which is an alternative income source for women,” Manneh further said.
He said if the farm project was successful the Ministry of Agriculture would address the financial need of the clinic and school currently provided by the foreign donor.
Mr Manneh described the participation of youth in community development as far-lacking behind the expectations of the government and donors who are partners of government.
“The farm has created an employment opportunity by creating job opportunity for seven youths as farm attendants who are paid but despite all this we have less number of youths showing interest in the job by the majority of them sitting at home doing nothing,” he added.
“The income of that farm will be ploughed back for the development of their own community,” he said.
Mr Manneh said they still have one incomplete project of their target which is the road linking the clinic with the main referral at Essau as the road is a hard drive situation, especially during the rainy season.
“Investing over 20 million dalasi within a cycle of 5 years really deserves to be sustained,” he said, while requesting other donors to support their existing donors.
He congratulated their donors for the support, especially the Holland-based donors, the Government of The Gambia and the women of the community of Kajateh and Negi for their outstanding support and vision for helping themselves to alleviate poverty.