The Embassy of the United States in The Gambia on Wednesday held the signing ceremony of D3.6 million grants meant for local communities and refugees centres in the country.
Of the total amount, D2.5 million is earmarked for ten communities across the country, and the remaining D1.1 million is meant for The Gambia Food and Nutrition Association (GAFNA) to support the large refugee population within the Fonis in the West Coast Region.
The refugee grant will enable GAFNA to strengthen child welfare centres for the refugees and host family children in six communities within the region. The grant would be used to purchase cereal milling machine for income generation, provide supplementary and nutrition feeding to the enrolled children, and empower the mother’s clubs to effectively manage and sustain the children.
The project will also provide safe drinking water supply for three communities namely Kerr Ali, Manna village and Kulukulleh in the North Bank, Central River and Upper River Regions respectively. Four other communities in the North Bank, Upper River and West Coast Regions were awarded grants for construction projects ranging from fencing of a school and community orchard; a community shed and market; culverts between Tinkinjo and Sabou Sire villages.
The community of Jamagen in the Central River Region will build a health post to be equipped with solar electricity; while Fellengkoto Jokere Endam in the Lower River Region will purchase a coos milling machine, and Maantaabeng in the West Coast Region will use its grant to develop youth livelihood skills for a better and more prosperous economic future.
The grants were given as part of the Embassy’s Special Self-Help Fund and Julia Taft Refugee Fund Programme.
Speaking at the occasion, US Ambassador to The Gambia, Patricia Alsup said this community-driven assistance programme allows the Embassy to respond to local requests for small development projects that will directly impact people’s lives in a positive way.
She said it will also encourage communities to be self-reliant and continue related activities on their own in the future. “All SSH [Special Self-Help] projects are community-based local initiated, administered at the local level and include significant community contribution in cash, labour, or materials,” she said, adding that the Embassy received 250 project proposals out of which 10 were granted.
Ambassdor Alsup noted that the success of each project will depend on the hard work and dedication of each community. She added that it is only by pooling our resources that we can make truly significant contributions to national development.
For his part, the Minister of Lands and Regional Governments, Hon. Musa Amul Nyassi, thanked the US Embassy for helping in improving the welfare and wellbeing of local communities. He pointed out that the identified projects are in line with The Gambia Government’s Vision 2020 Development Blueprint and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE). He advised the beneficiaries to take proper care of the project.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiary communities, the Executive Director of GAFNA, Yusupha Gomez commended the US Embassy for their continued support in the development of rural communities.
by Alhagie Babou Jallow & Binta Jammeh