The project was conceived, planned and executed by residents and supporters of a community in Bundung. It all began when community leaders Musa Jammeh and Alhagie Sowe proposed the idea, which was supported by Sulayman Jammeh, the Councillor for Bundung Ward. Three weeks later street lights had been procured, youths had been mobilised for installation to complete the projectall to the tune of D25,000. It took only a day for 33 solar streetlights to be installed. By the evening of Sunday 27th December 2020, residents of Freetown Street were beaming with pride at the sight of a brighter and safer street.
One of the project objectives is to promote social cohesion among community members and promote uniform development. It is also viewed that the streetlights will help in the areas of security by helping to expose thieves during the night who often carry out petty thievery and burglary at night.
When asked about the project Alhagie Babou Sowe, Member of the organising committee said “we owe it to our communities because they opened up their arms to welcome us to stay, unite and live together as humans and with such gesture we need to give back. This is what brought the idea of our community electrification project. The electrification project is not for one individual’s benefit but for the entire community. Two major benefits gain from this is Security – To deter criminal activity in our community streetlights will help ward off thieves, burglary and also rape cases. Peace – This can’t exist without security and it’s the fundamental right for every human being acquire this”.
In implementing the project, the youth of Bundung have decided not to wait for the authorities to electrify their community and launch similar community development projects in the vicinity. The next phase of the project is to partner with health authorities in providing medical assistance for elderly persons with Diabetes and other related health complications affecting the elderly members of community and people in need of such medical attention within the community. This will increase the community’s access to professional medical advice that will improve the health of the community and better protect the environment.
Football is another area, which the group is interested in because it attracts lots of youth, The association will support young people who have dreams in football and ensure that they have a competitive football team within the community of Freetown. However, it is worth stressing that the electrification of the Freetown neighbourhood in Bundung is not the first of its kind. Similar undertakings were seen in communities like Jeshwang, New Yundum amongst others that without doubt, symbolise the growing sentiment of nationalism and volunteerism. The youth of Freetown Street hopes that their efforts would inspire other young Africans, especially Gambians to promote community development in their own ways.
By Biran Gaye and edited by Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT