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Spendenaufruf-Masken-fuer-Gambia

Our fundraiser “Masks for The Gambia” was a great success. After the publication of our last newsletter on 04.04.2020 and the call for donations “A letter from Gambia” on 20.04.2020, donations of 21,778.00 euros have been received in our bank account to date. Via Facebook we received another 2,673.70 euros in donations for the campaign – a total of 24,671.70 euros.

We thank all donors wholeheartedly for their small and large donations. 20,000 euros were transferred to Project Aid The Gambia in late April. 30,000 masks have already been produced there – and production continues…

The first masks were delivered in early April: 1,000 pieces to Jahaly Health Centre and 500 pieces to the Health Center Buniadu, which we run on behalf of Riverboat Doctors International e.V.

In Jahaly and Buniadu, patients receive a mask, which they return after their visit. The cotton masks are then soaked in hot water with detergent overnight and washed out and dried the next day before being handed out again. The two health centers were the first and only health facilities in The Gambia to have masks for staff and patients.You can watch a short video on Facebook here (just click here).

Matthias Ketteler, chairman of Project Aid The Gambia, initiated and organized the mask campaign on site in The Gambia before returning to Germany with his family in early May.

The Corona situation in The Gambia itself is somewhat confusing. Officially, the government has the situation under control – but to us the authorities seem overwhelmed. It took weeks of effort for Matthias Ketteler to obtain approval from the Gambian Ministry of Health to provide masks to state run health centers free of charge. There are neither medical masks nor simple mouth-nose masks available.

On Thursday (June 4th, 2020) we finally got a list with 23 health centers and local health posts in the Central River region, CRR, around Jahaly, to which we distributed a total of 8,000 masks at the beginning of this week, 500 and 250 each. We also made our project truck available free of charge to volunteers, who across the country distributed rice, sugar and oil to families in need, due to the lockdown.

There have been officially 28 Corona cases (as of June 10th) in The Gambia, five of which are active. 22 patients have recovered, one patient has died. A high number of unreported cases must be assumed, since there are only insufficient test capacities available. So far, just under 2,000 tests have been carried out and 800 contacts followed. 130 suspected cases are in quarantine. The state of emergency in the country was again extended by 21 days on June 10th. The markets that are vital for the population, but also mosques and churches, are reopened under certain conditions. We do not know whether our kindergarten can open again before the summer holidays begin in mid-July. The biggest problem, however, is that “social distancing” doesn’t work in The Gambia. The government strongly recommends wearing masks in public. On the big markets and on the ferries, however, we observe that nobody adheres to it.

The health system is poorly equipped: only 20 transpirators and eight intensive care bed units are available for a population of 2.3 million. Boergel GmbH, a German company, has provided us with 12 used transpirators for The Gambia. Inquiries from other companies are ongoing. Unfortunately, for weeks we have also been waiting for an urgently needed official request from the Gambian government. Together with donated hospital beds from the German hospital Ruhrlandklinik, the relief supplies are to be shipped to The Gambia at the end of June. We thank you very much for all these donations.

In Jahaly we now are also selling personal masks to patients and their escorts for a small fee (20 Dalasi, approx. 35 cents). After the initial reluctance of the villagers, we have now sold over 360 masks to them. Many people, especially in rural Gambia, do not believe that the virus exists. Where should they find out about it – without access to newspapers, radio, TV or social media? We have sold several thousand masks to companies in the coastal region or other NGOs in the country, e.g. to the Children’s Village Bottrop in The Gambia. The Serekunda Hospital, the largest city in The Gambia, has received 400 masks from us for free. Our masks can also be purchased in some pharmacies. All proceeds go to the production of further masks. With each mask, buyers and users receive a DIN A5 leaflet, which explains the hygienically correct use of the masks in text and images. We had several tens of thousands of copies of this leaflet printed.

On Friday (12.06.2020) we were hostd by Star TV-The Gambia on the program “Talk to Malik Jones”. Project Aid The Gambia’s project coordinator Ebrima Jobarteh and Dr. Eliazer Rodriguez reported on our projects and our contribution in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in The Gambia. Dr. Rodriguez currently supports us as a medical advisor. Please watch the entire program here:

Spendenaufruf-Masken-fuer-Gambia

Jahaly/The Gambia, April 19th, 2020

Dear friends, dear supporters of our projects in The Gambia,

in the sign of the Covid-19 pandemic that affects all of us, almost all of us are currently shifting the priorities of everyday life.

I have been in the Gambia with my wife and youngest daughter for six months. Our Gambian partner association Project Aid The Gambia tries to get involved as a partner of the Gambian government in the fight against the virus.

Seen from a distance, the situation in Germany after many human tragedies seems to be slowly improving to the extent that sufficient hospital beds and intensive care units can be made available for the difficult course if it continues to spread. Hundreds of thousands of tests are performed daily in Germany, and slightly more than 300 only in Gambia since February.

Measures that have been taken in Europe to contain the virus – such as to work from home or to stay at home – can hardly be implemented in The Gambia. As a rule, people cannot do their work from home. There is no social security system. Due to the miserable state of the state budget, it is not possible to pay short-time work benefits or to support affected companies from tax funds.

The ordinary population cannot shop in a supermarket. The people visit local markets and have to move in narrow streets between nested sales booths. Very few houses in the capital region have their own water connection. The further you get to the rural areas, the less often there is an own connection. People meet at public water supply points: wells, taps that have been set up by the government or by NGOs.

Water – an already invaluable commodity in this country due to the heat and drought – is extremely important in combination with soap when used against the corona virus.

Most people in The Gambia are Muslim and wash their hands and feet five times a day, as prescribed by Islam. However, this is more a spiritual cleansing, using only water.

There are therefore a number of logistical difficulties with the provision of water and soap. The use of high alcohol disinfectants that protect against the virus is out of the question. These items are scarce or very expensive.

The Gambia has so far registered ten official corona patients. One patient has died, two have recovered and seven are still in quarantine.

However, because of the few tests that have been carried out, these figures have no meaning at all – they are only registered as statistical accessories. How far an actual “infection” of the entire population has already taken place cannot be determined. In rural areas in particular, the dead are buried within a few hours. Existing symptoms are usually not checked.

At Jahaly Health Centre in Jahaly and at the health centre in Buniadu entrusted to us by Riverboat Doctors International e.V. are the only health centers in the country where patients are only allowed to enter the site when wearing a cotton face mask, which we provide. We also maintain a distance of two meters. We already informed you about this with our newsletter a few days ago. You can read the newsletter again by clicking here.

On April 2nd I sent a letter to the Gambian Minister of Health, Dr. Samateh, and informed him about the use of the face masks in Jahaly and Buniadu and asked to start a national campaign for wearing masks.

Since then, the minister has been kept informed by me about new scientific findings and how other countries deal with this topic. The minister had always shown interest.

At a press conference last Friday, the Minister of Health has now announced that the Gambian government is now advising that self-made face masks be worn in public.

In the next few days we will therefore start a nationwide campaign together with other groups and organizations with which we already work with. It is our goal that the wearing of self-made face masks is not only recommended, but becomes mandatory. The risk of infection is only reduced if everyone wears a mask in public – and in addition to observing hygiene measures.

At the beginning of April we had the first four thousand masks made from cotton. The production of a mask costs twenty-five Gambian Dalasi – about fifty euro cents. We want to have a very large number of these masks manufactured and offer them for sale nationwide. The proceeds go entirely to the production of further masks. We want to make these masks available to poor families free of charge. We want to raise public awareness with a campaign on radio, TV, social media and information posters.

I ask all of you to open your pockets and hearts for this action. We need donations for start-up capital and running costs. There are about twenty intensive care beds in the Gambia, and as far as I know there are 3 (in words: three) ventilators.

If the epidemic spreads here as in certain areas of Europe, many people are at risk of death. Unrest and riots are feared.

I know that my appeal comes at a certain inappropriate time. I am addressing you all now, at a time when you yourself face enough problems. But I also know that you have supported our work in The Gambia for many years: Certainly also because you care about the people on this continent.

So if each of you makes a donation after reading this letter – online here – or directly to our donation account at

Name of Bank:         Genobank Essen

Account number:     200 900 900, BLZ 36060488

IBAN:                         DE57 3606 0488 0200 9009 00 – BIC: GENODEM1GBE

Intended use:           Masks

then we can start this campaign in a few days.

Please also distribute this letter to your relatives, acquaintances, friends. Every little amount helps. Let’s try it together.

I once again greet everyone from The Gambia and hope that we will all see each other again in Germany or in The Gambia.

 

Matthias Ketteler

(Board)

 

More information about why to wear a face mask: www.maskonnow.com

Project Aid The Gambia/Projekthilfe Gambia e.V.

Im Poth 26

D-45529 Hattingen

Germany

Tel.: +49 234 9418322

Email: info@buschklinik.de

Registered at German local court Amtsgericht Essen / Registration number VR 30455

 

Website: www.buschklinik.de/en

Latest news on the work of Project Aid The Gambia: www.buschklinik.de/en/blog-2

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BuschklinikGambia

English Videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA8601150BD4F4AED

Subscribe to our newsletter here: www.buschklinik.de/en/newsletter-2

 

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

Picture Gallery

20190219_Happy-Stromleitung-02-m-Fatou-Banja-u-Mai-Manneh

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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20180516_Projekthilfe-Matthias-Ketteler-bei-Präsident-Adama-Barrow

20180516_Projekthilfe-Matthias-Ketteler-bei-Präsident-Adama-Barrow

It was a long journey for Project Aid The Gambia`s chairman Matthias Ketteler, Charles Mbye, the Local Chairman of Project Aid The Gambia and Christian Goeken of Riverboat Doctors International, to meet the Gambian President Adama Barrow. 370 kilometers from the coast to the very east of the country, where the president spent some days in his hometown Mansajang Kunda

President Barrow took 45 minutes on 16/05/2018, to discuss with the delegation of Project Aid the challenging situation of the rural centers in particular. After 22 years of dictatorship of the former ruler Yaya Jammeh, the state treasuries were looted, the president said. The smallest country in Africa relies on international aid.

Charles M’bye emphasized the many years of help provided by Project Aid The Gambia in various areas. President Barrow praised the work of Jahaly Health Centre, which has had an excellent reputation for over 27 years and is known in the Ministry of Health as THE role model for rural health services.

Matthias Ketteler explained some ideas for improving the supply of medicines and the provision of used medical devices. In the past ten months, various devices have already been made available through Project Aid The Gambia. However, for the collection of donations in kind, for maintenance measures and for training of Gambian technicians, tProject Aid needs appropriate agreements with the government, he said. Charles M’bye made it clear that such a cooperation would require a direct and competent government contact person to speed up communication and decision-making.

These proposals were approved by President Barrow. While still in the talk, he ordered a meeting over the phone for the next day with the Minister of Health, the Permanent Secretary, the Health Director  of The Gambia and the head of the largest Gambian Hospital (RVTH) with the representatives of Project Aid The Gambia

The following topics should be discussed:

– Provision of medicines in rural health stations

– Assistance in the maintenance / repair of health centers

– technical possibilities of collecting treatment statistics, drug use, early detection of epidemics

– Support of hospitals with medical equipment

– Training measures for the qualification of Gambian technicians regarding the maintenance and repair of medical devices

An employee of the President’s Office was designated as a direct contact person for Project Aid.

Towards the end of the very productive conversation, the work of the Health Centre Buniadu of Riverboat Doctors International was also addressed. The president was also well informed on this issue. He thanked the delegation for the help of the past years and for the reopening of the health centre.

 

DSC_0447-klein

DSC_0447-klein Upps – we are sorry. This post is only available in German ;-(

Video: Ankunft Schulmöbel in Jahaly (2018)

Bildergalerie

Mass-Suso-u-Matthias-Ketteler-4-Ausschnitt
Mass-Suso-u-Matthias-Ketteler-4-Ausschnitt
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