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Red Cross briefs media on humanitarian aid project

Jan 29, 2016, 10:23 AM | Article By: Halimatou Ceesay

The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) Wednesday briefed journalists on the outcomes of the European Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) project at a meeting held the GRCS headquarters in Kanifing.

ECHO is a 600,000 euro project aimed at mitigating the impact of malnutrition and food insecurity in The Gambia.It was implemented by the GRCS in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The project, implemented in June 2015 – January 2016 , was designed to build community resilience in Central River Region north and North Bank Region west by supporting “very poor households” in the districts of Sami and Upper Niumi.

Fatou Gaye, acting secretary general of GRCS, said the project has three main components.

One of the components is nutritional sensitisation of 12,500 persons; food security and livelihood cash distribution to 2,100 families is the second one.The third component is nutritional support through cooking demonstrations to 2,300 pregnant and lactating women and children under 5.

She said 128 communities were reached through the delivery of aid with over 30,000 beneficiaries.

Madam Gaye said over 100 Red Cross volunteers from the North Bank and Central River regions and 30 staff were used to conduct the project activities.

She explained that through the Nutrition and Hygiene Promotion and Sensitisation, held between September and December 2015, volunteers reached 12,500 people from house to house.

During the sensitisation, the key messages were on proper hand washing, importance of food groups and proper cooking measures, exclusives breastfeeding to children under 6 months, and environmental sanitation.

In the second component of the project – Food Security and Livelihoods Protection – the Red Cross acting secretary general said more than D21,100 was provided directly to the beneficiaries through cash distribution to 2,100 households in North Bank and Central River regions.

Also, D3,350 was given to each household, per month for three months to allow most vulnerable households to meet their basic food needs.

Under component three which was on nutritional support through cooking demonstrations to 2,300 pregnant and lactating women and children under 5, Madam Gaye said more than D480,500 was delivered in direct aid to conduct step-down cooking demonstrations on proper nutrition.

The Red Cross official further explained that 3 women from of the 128 communities (a total of 384 women) were trained in January with the support of Red Cross, NaNA and Food Technology Unit of the Department of Agriculture on nutrition recipes from locally available food items.

The trained women were used to provide cooking demonstrations to pregnant and lactating women and women with children under 5 in their respective communities.

Daniella Trudeau, ECHO development project manager at IFRC, said IFRC is an international body located in 189 countries supporting Red Cross Societies in order to transfer humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable societies.

She explained that they are in The Gambia to implement a project with GRCS on humanitarian aids.

Buba Darboe, operations manager of the ECHO project, said after the implementation phase of the project, they conducted a post distribution monitoring to see the impact of the project but the result was welcoming.