#Article (Archive)

US Embassy disburses nearly D3M to CBOs, rights organizations

Dec 22, 2010, 11:04 AM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The Government of the United States of America through its diplomatic mission in the Gambia yesterday disbursed US$ 105,000 equivalent to nearly three million dalasis to various community organizations in The Gambia.

The funds, disbursed at a signing ceremony held at the American Corner, came from the Democracy and Human Rights Fund and the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Project.

The Democracy and Human Rights Fund (DHRF) provides grants to indigenous civil society organizations or Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to implement small, short-term, highly targeted activities designed to show measurable results, with an emphasis on change in support of human rights and democratic institutions. This year, the DHRF program awarded a total of US $60,000 to five organizations.

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) programme is a grassroots assistance program that allows US embassies to respond quickly to local requests from small community-based development projects. This year, the program also awarded a total of US $45, 000 to nine communities nationwide.

Recipients of this year’s DHRF are Beakanyang Kaffo in the Upper River Region, who received D364,000, Operation No Back Way to Europe, who received D364,000, Rural Youths and Children Advancement Association receives 336, 000, Youth Crime Watch the Gambia received D336, 000, while Women for Democracy and Development received D280, 000.

The beneficiaries for this year’s DHRF will, among others, embark on voter education, sensitization on illegal migration, child rights promotion and protection, building institutional capacities of youth crime watch towards a national strategy for youth participation in national development, and training of trainers on women’s rights and democracy.

Recipients of the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Project were Wesley Lower Basic School with D117, 600, Koli Kunda Women’s Group in the Upper River Region received D232, 400, Kwinella Nya Kunda in the Lower River Region received D232, 400, Kembujeh Lower Basic in the West Coast Region received D49, 000, No Kunda Fisheries Association in the North Bank Region received D128, 800, while the Solar Energy Committee of Juffureh and Albreda got D117, 600.

Also among the recipients were Kunkujang Women’s Self Help Association, who received 128, 800, and Passy Chally in the North Bank Region, who received D126, 000.

The beneficiaries of the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Project will also embark on building of a school kitchen, construction of hand well, a school toilet project, provision of a concrete line well, rehabilitation of ECO library and resource center, a rice milling machine, a rural solar project for Juffereh and Albreda, and the construction of a waiting shed.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, US Ambassador to the Gambia Pamela Ann White said the signing shows the US Government’s commitment to working with the Gambia on democracy, human rights and community development issues.

“As a professional, who has spent my career working on development issues in Africa, I can truly appreciate the impact the self-help projects will have on your local communities. Last week, I traveled to the North Bank Region and visited Kinteh Kunda Janneh-ya, where the Embassy provided a milling machine to a local women’s group. This donation touches not only the lives of the beneficiary group, but the entire community and its surroundings,” she stated.

According to the chief US diplomat in Banjul, members of the women’s group now have more time for other income generating activities, which will enable them to provide more food to their families and more education for their children.

Ambassador White is of the conviction that the nine self help projects are different from most development programs, because they are community-driven.

“In addition to designing your projects, each of you have agreed to contribute in some manner to the projects, either through land, labour or money,” she told the beneficiaries.

Ambassador White applauded the awardees for their contribution, noting that “we can only succeed, if we work together”.

The signing ceremony, she added, marked the beginning of their partnership, and underscored the need to continue working together to bring the projects to a successful end.

The DHRF, she added, is one of the many mechanisms that the US government uses as part of its strategies to promote democracy and good governance.

She noted that the beneficiaries for the DHRF were chosen because they believed in their ability to achieve concrete results in a short period of time, adding that the projects, focusing on empowering women, helping children, and stemming illegal migration, are vital not only to the communities they work with, but the Gambia as a whole.

Sarjo Suwareh, chief executive officer of

Operation No Back Way
, hailed the efforts of the US Embassy in Banjul and its immense contribution to the socio-economic development of the country.

Suwareh noted that the signing is yet another clear manifestation of the US Government’s support to the Gambia.

Zachary Bailey, Political and Economic Officer at the US Embassy, moderated the ceremony, and urged the recipients to make best use of the funds.