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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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20170730_MK-Mass-Haddy-mit-Kinderakten-01The cooperation between Project Aid The Gambia (International NGO A57)  and the Friedensdorf International (Peace Village) in Oberhausen/Germany will be continued. The two organizations recently confirmed this after a discussion. In October the next mission of Peace Village in The Gambia will take place. Sick and injured children, who can not be helped medically in The Gambia, are presented to the members of the team of Peace Village. The team then decides on the spot, which children  can be treated overseas in Germany. At the moment the management team at our project office in Manjai Kunda saves the medical reports and documents of the children who are on the waiting list for overseas treatment by Peace Village. In order to improve the medical preparations for overseas treatments in Germany and to ensure professional preliminary examinations, Project Aid plans to expand the management team by a trained nurse and to work with the MRC (Medical Research Council) in The Gambia. After the return of the children to the Gambia, the nurse will also look for their aftertreatment.

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Dear members, sponsors and friends of Project Aid The Gambia!

On 1 June 2017, our new project manager in Gambia, Mass Suso, started his work.

Mr. Mass Suso, aged 39, possesses widely ranged capabilities of management skills. He holds a Diploma in Management Studies and a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Administration. He attended professional training for Leadership and Project Management. In his last position he worked as the Human Resources Manager as a member of the senior management team of Radville Farms Ltd. in The Gambia.

The Board of Project id The Gambia is looking forward to working together. In the first months, Mass Suso is supported by Biba Mousa, who was a project manager in 2011/2012.

The background of changing the management can be summarized as follows:

After an astonishing joint resignation of the four-strong management team as well as the joint resignation of all the project employees of Jahaly Health Centre and Kindergarten in Jahaly all projects in the Gambia were steetering on the brink of collapse, after 25 years.

Jahaly Health Centre was closed for 17 days. The clinic staff did not resume their work until June 6, 2017.

The former management team submitted incomplete, late or not at all the necessary information from the projects needed for the decisions of the Management Board. Information from the Management Board to the employees in Jahaly were not disclosed.

The former management team replaced a letter from the clinic staff in which salary increases were demanded by its own completely different version, titled “Letter of Resignation” and sent it to the board in Germany.

After further investigations, the Management Board will decide whether the former management in the Gambia will be charged with criminal charges for falsification of documents.

The Kindergarten remains closed and will open again in September after the summer holidays. Project Aid The Gambia is currently under negotiation with the Gambian government, which is set to provide the teachers for the kindergarten from the new academic year. The Gambian Ministry of Education has already announced the willingness to do so. Project Aid The Gambia remains responsible for the buildings, for renovations and teaching materials.

This cooperation with the Gambian government is initially planned as a pilot project for a period of two years. In so far as the quality of education and care of children is maintained, the Board of Management of Project Aid The Gambia considers such a cooperation to be forward-looking in development cooperation: non-profit organizations such as Project Aid are responsible for building and maintenance and overseeing the organization and structure of the projects. The government provides the staff.

If this cooperation does not develop to the satisfaction of Project Aid The Gambia, the employees would return to the Project Aid after the pilot phase.

By saving the staff costs for the teachers of the kindergarden, funding is available to Project Aid, which the Manament Board would like to use in the long term to support further state Health Centers and schools.

The first such project where Project Aid The Gambia is going to take over the responsibility for buildings and technical installations (water / solar) and for the supply of drugs is the state run Njaba Kunda Health Centre.

In this context, the Board of Management of Project Aid The Gambia has decided on a strategic reorientation of the project work in The Gambia:

  1. As a model clinic, Jahaly Health Centre remains completely in the hands of Project Aid The Gambia
  2. The Moringa plantation is still operated by Project Aid The Gambia
  3. The kindergarten is run in a two-year pilot phase in cooperation with the Gambian government
  4. Njaba Kunda Health Centre as a joint pilot project of Project Aid The Gambia and the Gambian government leads to a new organization of rural health care in The Gambia

A detailed report is available on request. This report will be presented at the next regular annual meeting of Project Aid The Gambia in Germany.

 

Sincerely, Your Board of Management

Project Aid The Gambia / Projekthilfe Gambia e.V.

Matthias Ketteler, Frank Heuer, Dieter Lieken, Ulfert Engelkes, Thomas Wiegeman

Hattingen/Germany, June 12th, 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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Since end of January we support “Tanka Tanka”, the only mental health inpatient facility of The Gambia, by building a new large soak away to prevent the existing one from over flooding. Later both constructions will be linked. The first steps: doing the measurements and moulding one thousand handcrafted blocks.

In addition we will repair, extend and modernize the existing electric of the hospital.

A major problem for the clinic with its eighty inpatients is the lack of medicine. The board of Project Aid is planning for the time being to supply the hospital with the most needed drugs for one year. We already have scheduled talks on this with the Gambian Ministry of Health (MOH) and local supporters of “Tanka Tanka”.

Fotos: © 2016 Project Aid The Gambia / Famara Fatty

 

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30-Jahre-Buschklinik(Press information) Project Aid The Gambia (German: Projekthilfe Gambia e.V., Hattingen/Germany) was founded 30 years ago, on December 23rd, 1985. The most known project of the state registered German charity organization is Jahaly Health Centre in the village of Jahaly in The Gambia.

It happened in 1985, one day before Christmas, when seven young people met in Hattingen/Germany to found the organization. Amoung the founders were Matthias Ketteler, who until today is the chairman, and Frank Heuer. In 1985 they were 24 and 23 years of age, both were in their job training as a nurse.

Matthias Ketteler: „We were a group with a lot of students of patient care like us. We discussed how unfair life is in other countries. Then we decided to stop talking and make a difference.”

Frank Heuer: “The idea to work in the field of development aid was somehow spontaneously, but I did not regret it until today. My compensation for the heavy work load in our organization are the enthusiasm, the joy and the gratefulness which the people in The Gambia show for our activities.”

The association was first called “Project Aid The Third World” and was later renamed to “Project Aid The Gambia”, in early 2015. The first target of the young people thirty years ago was to support development projects in underdeveloped countries.

Matthias Ketteler: “Our group came from Hattingen and Bochum. The city of Bochum, a local bank branch and a local newspaper then promoted a great project in The Gambia, called the ‘Children’s Clinic Bochum “. During our education Frank Heuer and me then spent our annual leave working in that clinic located in the village of Njaba Kunda. We met many people there and fell in love with The Gambia and it´s people. So we have come to The Gambia.”

Through this first project, helping the” Children’s Clinic Bochum “in the village Njaba Kunda, the West African country soon developed into the focus of the organization’s work. In 1987 Project Aid then supported the extension and renovation of a Health Centre in the Gambian capital city Banjul. In 1990/1991, the association built and opened their own Health Centre in the village Jahaly, the “Jahaly Health Centre”, in Germany aka as “Buschklinik”. Since opening more than half a million patients have been treated at the clinic, which in 2009 was awarded the status of a “Model Clinic” by the Gambian Government.

The organization is financed by donations and membership fees. Currently the association has 52 members and about 300 supporters. Board and active members work voluntarily, for administrative and advertising costs the organization have spent for many years much less than one percent of it´s revenue. “We promise our sponsors and donors that their donations with minimal deduction really reach the people in Jahaly”, chairman Matthias Ketteler says.

In Jahaly and the neighboring village of Madina, since 2003, Project Aid supports four garden projects of women’s cooperatives by fencing the gardens and building wells. In 2004, the organization built and established a kindergarten with preschool, right next to Jahaly Health Centre. The construction and the operation of the Kindergarten of the first three years were funded by donations of  the viewers of the fundraisung programme “Spendenmarathon” (Donation Telethon) of RTL German Television. Built and designed for 240 children, in the project´s kindergarten now twice as many children are cared for and prepared for the primary school.

The daily work in Jahaly is done by about 55 Gambian employees, including nurses, teachers, nursery-school teachers, gardeners and cleaners – headed by a Gambian project manager.

Since 2010 Project Aid builds in the villages Jahaly and Madina eco-friendly smoke-free stoves that will gradually replace the traditional open fireplaces. The establishment of a plantation of ten thousand Moringa Oleifera trees, applied since 2012, has created more jobs in Jahaly. Sales of Moringa products such as tea, powder, oil and soap in Germany shall become an important financial mainstay of the projects in the long term. 2011/2012, Project Aid replaced the former “Children’s Clinic Bochum” in Najaba Kunda, which has since operated as the state-run “Njaba Kunda Health Centre”, by a new one – supported by funds of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The latest project of the organization, which was established in 2012, is a cooperation with the German charity “Friedensdorf (Peace Village) International” in Oberhausen/Germany, which brings seriously ill or injured children from The Gambia to Germany for overseas treatment. Already 30 children have been helped in this way with a medically urgently necessary surgery.

Project Aid would like to thank for the numerous donations in the last 30 years and kindly asks, to continue to financially support it´s work for the people of Jahaly in the future also..

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IMG_20151125_080448_kleinSome weeks ago we extended the the power of the solar energy system in Jahaly, that simultaneously is providing electricity for Jahaly Health Centre, Kindergarten and for the strong water pumps of our Moringa plantation. We added several new solar panels to the system and replaced twelve panels that had been installed in 2004. We also added a third invertor device to the system. The panels installed in 2003 had slightly lost their power during the years. Ever and anon during night time or in the early morning suddenly electricity had went off. Especially in the morning electricity is most needed at Jahaly Health Centre. Then it took hours to let the batteries of the system be filled again by the sun.

Now the extended solar energy system produces a capacity of app. 20 KW. This should be enough for now to reliably provide 24/7 electricity.

 

Foto: © 2015 Project Aid The Gambia / Famara Fatty