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Workshop-Patricia-Ceesay_20.-22.2.19-03

We have to tell you about an extraordinary education session in our kindergarten in Jahaly. We look after 300 children between the ages of four and six in this academic year. Our goal is early childhood education at the highest level, which prepares the children as best as possible for their future school career. And all happens in a village in the countryside, in a very remote area of The Gambia, 270 kilometers away from the coast. We work with skilled and unskilled teachers, who themselves have not received an educational training comparable to Germany. Add to this the complete seclusion of the village, cultural constraints and a changing society after 22 years of dictatorship. One has to imagine: about a year ago, the power grid arrived in the village for the first time in history, this month finally on our project site. By the way: In the village, only very few can afford a connection to the new power grid. Despite all this, the teachers try to do their best. We are not talking about education in a Western style or African style, not Christian style or Muslim style. It is all about the children. It is all about their future.

“The only hope is education,” says Patricia Ceesay. She owns and runs a private Montessori Pre-School and Primary School in Brufut in the coastal region. At least once a year she travels to Jahaly and does training and workshops with our teachers. Our volunteers Lena and Marieke, who are currently doing an internship at the Jahaly-Madina kindergarten, report about the three day’s workshop from the 20th to the 22nd of February 2019.

On Wednesday Patricia Cessay arrives in Jahaly. Since she has arrived very early in the morning, she looks directly at the “morning classes”. The first workshop takes place during the first break. All teachers gather in a classroom. First, Patricia praises the teachers and says what she has noticed when watching the class at work: compared to last year, the children are more involved in the classroom activities. Later she adivises the teachers team, that it is important to have the children at the playground under observation always so that accidents can be avoided. In addition, the classrooms should be kept clean and tidy to create a better learning environment. Then it’s about spelling mistakes on the posters in the classrooms. The teachers are role models for the children, says Patricia, and should avoid spelling errors.

Next topic: Children learn and understand each other at different speeds. That’s why children should not go to the next level until they are ready. At the end of the workshop, it’s about teamwork: constructive criticism should be accepted, and teachers should help each other.

In the afternoon, Patricia looks at the “afternoon classes”.

Back in the guest house, we (Lena and Marieke) then start directly to produce new materials for the classroom. One method that Patricia also applies in her school is short sentences with two to six words written on different colored paper. These can then be picked out by the children in the classroom for them to read and write off. We create an example Patricia will give to the teachers the next day so they can make something like that for each of their classes.

On Thursday, in the workshop Patricia Ceesay discusses the importance of the English language in class. English is the basis for further education of the children. Patrica talks about the importance of learning to write. Many children learn Arabic on the weekend. In Arabic, however, one writes from right to left and not, as in English, from left to right. This is confusing for many children and must therefore be practiced.

Patricia motivates the teachers by telling them what role they play in children’s lives and in their education. The teachers should therefore be proud of their profession.

The children should be taught that no garbage is thrown on the floor, but in the existing trash cans. Next topic: the class rules. Class rules should be posted in every classroom and should be repeated every morning. Patricia makes it clear once again that in the classroom the focus should be on the child. This means that teachers should not go to their cell phones during the lesson or deal with other things. Part of the workshop is also that Patricia writes different words with two vowels on the blackboard. She explains and practices the pronunciation with all the teachers. Finally, the procurement of school and learning material will be discussed. A list of missing materials should be created and forwarded to the project office. Patricia spends the afternoon watching the afternoon classes. On the positive side, she notices that children learn with different learning methods. During an lesson on vegetables, the teacher went to the kitchen garden with the children to look at the vegetables there.

On Friday, Patricia gives a final workshop. Here she first goes into the way of teaching. Teachers should teach in a calm posture and with a lowered voice. In addition, the huge size of the classrooms should be used in a better way. In order for the children to have more space to study and to be able to concentrate better, the tables should be pulled apart. To make sure that the children drink enough, Patricia suggests short breaks in which the children can drink water. The children should be taught in class, for example, how to brush teeth or to go to bed early. The children take home what they have learned and can then apply it at home. It is then addressed that the teachers should involve the parents of the children. Parenting sessions could also be used to claim the fee for school lunches or to tell parents how to get their children ready for school. This includes braiding the hair of the girls, shaving off the hair of the boys – and washing the school uniform regularly.

At the end of the workshop Patricia thanks all attendees and expresses, how happy she is about the nice cooperation. She also warmly invites all teachers to visit her school in Brufut: the “Trankil Academy – Montessori Education Centre”.

The teachers appreciate her support and advice and look forward to a next time.”

 

The pedagogical findings from her workshop were summarized by Patricia Ceesay in this report:

“Over the course of my three day visit, I was able to observe all the classes during the morning and afternoon shifts, both at work and play.

I was pleased to note that the classes were more interactive and orderly. Teachers had prepared an abundance of teaching/learning apparatus and were using them on a daily basis. As had been discussed at the last meeting, teachers had found that the classes were more orderly when children were actively engaged in their own learning. The teachers admitted that this also made them feel less tired and they enjoyed their classes more.

On all three days, we were able to hold a training session. During these sessions, I was able to share my observations with the staff, discuss their concerns and constraints, and suggest concrete ways in which they could improve their work within the school, their relationship to the parents, outreach to the community, and follow¬up with the basic cycle school to which most of the children proceeded.

lt is pleasing to note the teachers’ willingness to implement suggestions to improve themselves both personally and professionally.

With each successive visit, I can clearly see improvement in teachers’ confidence, understanding of children, execution of lessons, and management of classes. I have no doubt they will continue to do well.”

(Patricia A. Ceesay/Education Adviser)

 

Pictures: ©2019 Projekthilfe Gambia e.V. / Lena Engel, Marieke Osewold

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It is a milestone in the history of Jahaly Health Centre: since February 15th, 2019, almost 28 years after the opening, the project compound has been connected to the public electricity grid. Even though the clinic has had its own solar power system since 1991 and for decades was the only place in the entire area with its own uninterruptible power supply, the connection to the public power grid is important as a reserve in case of technical problems with solar system or storage batteries. This was the case for several months at the end of 2018: the storage batteries had reached the end of their lifespan and had to be renewed. It took several months for the fault to be localized and for new batteries to be ordered, delivered and installed. Now, in case of technical problems with the solar system, it is easy to switch to the public electricity grid.

As early as the end of 2017, the overland power lines along the South Bank Road had arrived from the coastal region in Jahaly. During 2018, some families in Jahaly who could afford it were connected to the grid. It was not until the middle of January 2019 that we noticed that the electricity subdistribution of the village ended at a power pole directly opposite the Jahaly Health Centre. In an absolute record time of only two weeks, the power line was extended in cooperation with the Gambian electricity supplier Nawec over the highway to the project site and connected to the island network of the clinic and kindergarten. To do this, a large power pole had to be delivered by tractor-trailer to cross the highway and set up with a crane truck, the cables had to be laid and an electricity meter had to be installed. Without the many years of good contacts in The Gambia and without the active support of the  electric company “General Engeneering” run by Charles M’bye, who is the chairman of Project Aid The Gambia, it would never have been that easy. Nocturnal births in the light of flashlights or cell phone lights are now a thing of the past. We are very happy.

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On 24.01.2019 Project Aid The Gambia, Projekthilfe Gambia e.V. (Germany)  and Dr. Isatou Touray, Minister of Health *, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve health care in the rural Gambia.

1. Initial situation
The state health service in The Gambia is disastrous. The larger state run hospitals lack medicines and medical devices. The same applies to rural health centers spread across the country.

The rural health centers  are structurally and hygienically in a desolate condition. Very few have a supply of electricity and running water. Health centers connected to the electricity grid have a monthly budget for electricity (“cash power”) that is too small and often used up in the middle of the month. Nocturnal births take place in the light of flashlights or cell phones.

The lack of medicines means that patients need to buy their medicines for treatment in nearby private pharmacies at overpriced prices. These private pharmacies are operated by well-trained nurses who were formerly employed in the state health care system and are now lacking the state system.

Specialist doctors are missing throughout the country. For example, in Gambia there is only one diabetologist who can treat only a very small number of diabetics – and that only in the capital  area of Banjul and only with the help of an association in Germany.

Many rural nurses have left the civil service because the ministry can not provide them and their families with housing in or near the health centers.

Medical equipment donated from Germany and other European countries often does not last long, as there are no training ocapacities for technical personnel and / or lack of money for maintenance and repairs.

In 2011/2012, Project Aid The Gambia e.V., with funding from the German BMZ (Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development), rebuilt the state run health centre in the village of Njaba Kunda as a model clinic and handed it over to the Gambian Ministry of Health.

In 2009/2010 Project Aid The Gambia e.V. carried out a structural survey of all 33 then existing rural health centers. Floor plan drawings and photos are available from that survey.

Through the project described below The Gambia could become a model region in Africa.

2. Project description

Buildings / Equipment

  • The health centers shall be renovated / renovated.
  • The hygienic conditions shall be improved: creation of a water supply, tiling of all premises etc.
  • In each chealth centre a small laboratory shall be set up
  • Housing for staff, not from the surrounding villages, should be created (new building)
  • Establishment of a central “Facility Management” team of local craftsmen who are responsible for maintenance / repairs of the buildings (planned: over a period of 10 years after initial   renovation or new construction

Energy and water supply

  • If possible, all rural health centers shall be equipped with an uninterruptible 24/7 (solar) power and water supply – by installing small PV systems including storage batteries.

Medical Equipment

  • Medical equipment (second-hand) for state hospitals shall be get hold of in Germany (donation or purchase) and be shipped to The Gambia
  • Training for technical personnel
  • Creating a facility for maintenance / repair of medical equipment locally in The Gambia

Drug supply

  • The existing system of free delivery of – non-existing medicines  – to patients shall be abolished. Patients shall in the future purchase prescribed drugs at the purchase price (wholesale prices) plus 10% surcharge. This has already been agreed in the present MOU.
  • From drug sales and patient treatment fees, new medicines can be purchased
  • The procurement of medicines incl. Logistics (delivery / storage) should be outsourced to local private wholesale pharmacies.
  • This would cut off the business basis of the small private pharmacies in the neighborhoods of the health centers. The owners  (nurses) would return to the state health service.

 

Health Centre App

Project Aid Thee Gambia is currently developing an App for smartphones, with which the operation of a health centers can be completed, including

  • Registration of patients
  • Revenue fees for medical treatment and laboratory services
  • Diagnosis / treatment inclunding medical guidelines for the treatment / medication of the most common diseases
  • Laboratory results
  • Issue / prescription of medication
  • Possibility of data transfer from  of symptoms / diseases to UN / WHO or other international organizations.

The app sends all data daily and automatically for evaluation to a central server (via Internet or SMS)

Information on the number of patients treated and diseases are available on the same day.
The accumulation of diseases in specific places / regions and possible incipient epidemics can be detected and combated at an early stage.
Information about the number of medicines issued is available on the same day and can be used for reordering / logistics.
In larger health stations, a small network (“intranet”) with server (PC, laptop) for data storage / forwarding must be set up. Prerequisite for this is an uninterruptible 24/7 power supply. This is guaranteed by the installed PV system(s) and storage batteries.

 

3. Status of the Project 

At the moment Project Aid The Gambia is awaiting information from the Gambian Ministry of Health about

  • Number / designation of the rural health centers to be renovated / renovated
  • structural condition of each health centre
  • Connection to the mains
  • staffing
  • Number of patients / year
  • Existing medical equipment in state hospitals
  • lack of medical equipment in state hospitals

Subsequently, the financing requirement can be determined, a cost calculation and a scheduling can be worked out. At present, partners are being sought for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

* Update: On March 15th, 2019, the Minister of Health, Dr. Isatou Touray, was appointed as the Vice President. On March 27th, 2019, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh was appointed as the new Minister of Health.

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On November 8th, 2018, the new staff house was ceremoniously opened at the Health Center Buniadu of Riverboat Doctors International e.V. (RDI). In almost seven months of construction, also the kindergarten of the project was extended by one classroom and new water supply tabs for the community and for the local mosque were installed. “Today is a big day in the history of Buniadu,” said Ousman Camara of the Gambian Ministry of Health during the opening ceremony. “Running a health center is a good thing by itself, but providing staff quarters is really magnificent and worth recognizing.” The state health service had to let many employees go because no accommodations could be provided, Camara  continued.

The new staff house consists of a large common room and two rooms each for the two nurses of the Health Centre. A modern sanitary area with a shower is included and an African kitchen in the outdoor area. In the back of the building are two furnished rooms, a common area with kitchen corner and a bathroom for volunteers from Germany. All rooms of the house are tiled. Before staff and volunteers have lived in two very basic houses – one kilometer away from the Health Centre. Water had to be brought in with a donkey cart. The power of a small solar panel was sufficient only for the operation of a few incandescent lamps. The new staff housing is connected to the electricity and water supply of the Health Centre. The solar system of the Health Centre has been enlarged, new batteries installed.

The extension of the kindergarten by one additional classroom makes it possible to look after about 100 children now. At the same time, the three classrooms were equipped with used school furniture and boards – donated by various elementary schools in Germany. Also the playground of the kindergarten was renovated and expanded by a large nest swing.

On the outer wall of the staff house for the villagers four water supply points were installed, which are connected to the well of the Health Centre. The entrance area in front of the local mosque next to the Health Centre has been tiled and equipped with four water tabs and a tiled bench.

Construction works began in April 2018 and was organized by Project Aid The Gambia, the Gambian partner of Projekthilfe and RDI. Since the beginning of 2017 Project Aid The Gambia also manages the projects of RDI in The Gambia. For the construction, 5,000 concrete blocks were produced by hand on site and 220 square meters of tiles were laid.

The construction costs amounted to approx. 30,000 euros and were funded with donations Projekthilfe Gambia (staff house, solar batteries), Friedensdorf International (kindergarten), RDI and the German-Turkish Günes family (water points, mosque area, solar system), to name but a few.

A Gambian TV station, a radio station and several newspapers reported on the opening ceremony.

 

Video: Grand Opening of Staff House Buniadu (2018)

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Sign-board-Jahaly-Health-Centre-Buschklinik-3I, Matthias Ketteler, for and on behalf of myself as well as the board of Projekthilfe Gambia e. V. (Germany) and the management of Project Aid The Gambia NGO A 57, would like to express our deep concerned about the current political situation in the country. We have been providing development assistance for more than 30 years. Our spirits, our hearts and minds have been with the People of The Gambia in particular the masses, the old and young, the faces and lives that we have touched for the past thirty years and will continue to do so.

The friendliness and warmth that many people have sown us during our work in The Gambia is unique. This has deeply touched our hearths and ultimately gave us strength, motivation and passion to build even more friendship. We also hope to foster development in future which will benefit the people of The Gambia especially the people living in the rural area who desperately needs help and we are fully committed to fulfill our objectives by supporting them even more.

Our work has always been and will surely remain beneficial to the helpless, the sick, men and women, old and young people of the Republic of The Gambia. Being cognizant of the fact that our work does not entails only the provision of Aid but also to show love and dedication which undoubtedly helps the people including the sick as it changes their lives for the better.

As an International NGO we have closely followed the current events in The Gambia from December 1st 2016 to date and cannot help but to express our concern for the safety of The Gambian people whom we served. We see our goals as a 100% dedicated NGO, facing the possibility of not being made to manifest the current developments and worry for the future of our friends, our employees and extended families that are presently seeking for a brighter and better future.

On that note and with nothing but goodwill and love, we therefore appeal to all political leaders to engage in dialogue and commitment that will benefit the People of The Gambia. To make decision based on respect of the laws of The Gambia and to take account of the wishes of the people of The Gambia and the values of peace, ethics and  secular coexistence of all the religions, tribes and cultures that  in our opinion is the most priceless gift of The Gambia. This is something so unique, so rare in the world we live in today.

This is the beauty of The People of The Gambia, which in our opinion must be persevered and be made the corner stone of any decision or action that the different parties will take. It is also our hope that all decisions and measures taken must be towards the prevention of anarchy to cause harm to the people of The Gambia. This instrument is therefore the foundation to peaceful transition process that is manifested by the entire population.

We urge and wish for a peaceful outcome of the current situation in The Gambia, without threat or violence. It is evident to see that this is the opinion of the majority of the population of Gambians at home and abroad including friends of The Gambia. The people of The Gambia would like to see a future without fear, a future of new dawns, new hopes and new beginnings. This fact has been made evident by the determination of Gambian People. We express our prayers and thus demonstrate our goodwill gesture to support the aspiration of the Gambian people who deserves to be respected at all cost. It is the duty of any government to respect and implement the decision and choice of her people.

The very foundation of democracy is built on the this principle of respect of the choice of the people, by the people, and this constitutional right must be not only defended but also respected by the politically elected representatives that are in office by way of a democratically elected and chosen people and government.

We hope that those entrusted with this mandate will act solely in the interest of peace, love and the successful future of The Gambia.

Thought for today and a gentle reminder.

In peace and friendship always,

Matthias Ketteler, chairman and Good Will Ambassador At Large of The Republic of The Gambia, in the name of the board of Projekthilfe Gambia e. V. (Germany) and the management of Project Aid The Gambia NGO A 57.

Manjai Kunda, Hattingen/Germany on January 3rd, 2017

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This is another possibility of supporting Project Aid The Gambia: asking your local Pastor or priest to donate the open/free collection of the church service to Project Aid.  The local churches are always looking for serious Partners and sustainable procets where to donate their open collections to. In February the church Kirchengemeinde Hademarschen located in the northern part of Germany has donated two free collections of their attenders at church to Project Aid. The donation was a total of  € 152,61. This amount would be enough to pay for a student´s seat at our kindergarten for a whole academic year. We say thank you very much and recommend to kindly copy this idea.

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Grafik-Patienten-Buschklinik-JHC-2011-bis-2015-1In 2015 Jahaly Health Centre treated 46,190 in- and out-patients – 72 per cent more than 2014 (26,867). One reason: there are enough drugs available at JHC at all times – thanks to your donations. Another reason: for patients drugs are free of charge at Jahaly Heath Centre, other than at state-run health centres. We charge a small fee for treatment or lab service only. This is less than 1 Euro each. But: it is clear that we face a major increase in expenses for drugs. Most patients were out-patients, 897 patients (2014: 587) were admitted. 250 patients (2014: 185) were referred by our ambulance car to Bansang hospital for further treatment. 2015 we had 108 deliveries (64 boys, 41 girls) at Jahaly Health Centre, 21 more than in 2014. The amount of lab tests increased to 23,074 (2014: 19,650), whereof 11,192 were tests for Malaria, whereof  1,941 were positiv.

These numbers are part of our “Annual Report 2015″, just published by “Project Aid The Gambia”. Each year our sister organization puts together such a report for the Gambian government (Ministry of Health). The annual report is packed full with information on all activities and projects of the year under review.

The full Annual Report 2015 und all Annual Reports since 2007 You may read | here |.