The Minister of Lands and Regional Governments, Hon. Musa Amul Nyassi, has asserted that the support given by the Embassy of the United States to local Gambian comunities is a clear manifestation of the excellent fraternal and close relations that happily exists between the two countries for the past decades.
Minister Nyassi was speaking at the American Conner along the Kairaba Avenue during the signing ceremony of D3.6 million grants for the community development project across the country and support of refugees by the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Project.
“It is my opinion that the philosophy of this programme is simply to give communities the tools they require to help themselves by identifying a variety of projects aligned with their priorities thereby unlocking their potentials to develop new income generation activities,“ he affirmed.
He pointed out that The Gambia Government under the leadership of President Jammeh will continue to improve the welfare and wellbeing of the local communities. This support, Minister Nyassi added, is laudable and commendable. He, therefore, urged the beneficiaries to ensure that the acquired funds are put into good use.
Yusupha J Gomez, the Executive Director of The Gambia Food and Nutrition Agency (GAFNA) whose institution is responsible for the implementation of the refugee component of the grants, commended the US Embassy’s support towards the development of refugees in this country. According him, his office is working very hard towards improving the welfare of refugees in The Gambia.
“With a shift from care and maintenance strategy in recent years, [the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] UNHCR now engages its partners including GAFNA as a major partner throughout the West Africa sub-region into integrated livelihood programme for refugees especially those based in the rural areas,” he stated.
“The present caseload under the programme stands at 7,870 refugees all of whom are resident in the Foni areas. In addition there are a total of 1,103 registered urban refugees of various nationalities from the sub-region who are given welfare support in education, health, livelihood, gender based violence and counselling services.”
The US Ambassador to The Gambia, Patricia Alsup, stated that in recent years, these funds have been used to enhance the livelihood of the communities and their population. She noted that the project had provided solar electricity for the North Bank Community radio station and a solar system for electricity and water supply for the Firdawsy Health Centre in the Central River Region.
“The funds also supported a groundnut oil processing machine for the Tumana Youth Development Group in the Upper River Region, and skills training on income generating activities for the women of Bureng Adult Literacy Classes in the Lower River Region,” she said.
Ambassador Alsup added that in 2015, the Embassy constructed an additional classroom and provided school furniture for Success Nursery School in Batokunku village in the West Coast Region and funded training on tie-dye, batik, and soap making to create alternative livelihood income for the Sunwing Fruit Sellers Association in Bakau.
by Alhagie Babou Jallow &