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The German Board


Matthias Ketteler


Matthias Ketteler, born in 1961, after high school made a training as a nurse (1987). He is a founding member of “Projekthilfe Gambia e.V. (Project Aid The Gambia) and since then member of the board with one-year break. He is married and has three children.

Matthias Ketteler is owner of “Cognito Informationssysteme GmbH & Co KG”. In 2004/2005 he spent an entire year in The Gambia together with his family.

In February 2009 Matthias Ketteler was appointed by the Gambian Government as a Goodwill Ambassador for the rural health sector – including full diplomatic status.

“In Germany, I wish more dedicated people, more donors and sponsors for our meaningful projects. In The Gambia, I wish success for the Moringa project so that a part of the responsibility for the maintenance of Jahaly Health center and of the Kindergarten can be done in the country itself. ”

As the chairman of the Board of the association Matthias Ketteler cares mainly about the coordination of the projects and is in contact with the Project Coordinator in The Gambia on a daily basis.

Frank Heuer


Frank Heuer is a founding member of Projekthilfe Gambia e.V. (then “Projekthilfe 3.Welt e.V.”) and has been on the board for over 30 years. While still training as nurses, Frank Heuer and Matthias Ketteler took advantage of a four-week holiday in 1985 to get to know The Gambia.

“The impressions of that time are still present in my mind today, and we immediately fell in love with the country and its people. The decision to become involved in development aid in The Gambia was spontaneous, and I have not regretted it to this day. The enthusiasm, joy and gratitude with which our work is accepted compensates for much.”

Frank Heuer was Managing Director of “Nachbarschaftliche Hauskrankenpflege GmbH & Co KG” in Bochum.

“From the administrative area of Project Aid, I can tell anyone who is interested that their donations really get to where they belong and don’t end up in the administration.”

In addition to his commitment to Project Aid The Gambia, Frank Heuer was chairman of SV Burgaltendorf, a football club in the German city of Essen, and is now a member of the extended board.

On the board of Project Aid, Frank Heuer is mainly in charge of finances and looking after members, supporters and donors.

Ulfert Engelkes


Ulfert Engelkes, born in 1960, is an independent filmmaker based in Cologne/Germany. He is married and has three children. He joined the Board of Project Aid The Gambia in November 2014.

In 2003, for the first time he visited Jahaly Health Centre. In 2003 and 2004 together with Markus Lanz and a TV crew from RTL German Television he produced  the video documentaries on the kindergarten project for the charity fundraising program of RTL German Television, called “Spendenmarathon” (a charity telethon).

“Following many intensive discussions in Jahaly I then decided to participate in the aid convoy tour 2005 from Bochum to The Gambia, as I did later in the tours in 2009 and in 2011. The warmth of the people of Jahaly, the sustainability of the projects, the commitment of the entire team and the certainty that all donations from Germany really reach Jahaly with minimal deduction: that is why I am involved in Project Aid The Gambia.”

Ulfert Engelkes produces all videos about the projects free of charge as part of his social engagement.

In the Board of the association he primarily takes care of public relations, of the website and of the appearance of the organisation on Facebook.

Jürgen Heuer


Jürgen Heuer, born in 1949, married, two children, was actually there from the start thanks to his brother Frank Heuer.

Through his work as a managing partner of KUSTAN GmbH & Co. KG, he was always consulted on questions and organizational problems. Several times he himself was in Jahaly on site.

“The impressions from Jahaly have left a lasting mark on me. I have a lasting memory of a trip with a group of donors, where we were cheered by the entire population. ”

The first transports heading for Jahaly / The Gambia were partly co-operated by related companies for storage and transportation.

Jürgen Heuer was already a member of the executive board of Project Aid The Gambia in previous terms of office. That’s also why he did not hesitate in October 2018, when he was asked to join the board again.

Rieke Wiese


Rieke Wiese is 24 years old and works as a health and nursing assistant in the children’s intensive care unit at Oldenburg Hospital, Germany. She has been on the board since November 2021.

Rieke Wiese was in The Gambia for the first time in 2017. “The country and the people and what I experienced in The Gambia grabbed me in the first week,” she says today. In 2018, Rieke spent three months working at the Jahaly Health Centre: “I’m excited about what I saw in Jahaly and what I was able to do there myself.” She learned how health care works in another country and how to deal with completely different diseases and medicines in a different culture. “I was curious,” she says, “I always have been.”

Rieke Wiese now wants to bring a breath of fresh air to the German board’s work – “and female expertise,” she says. “”I especially want to inspire young people to get involved in Project Aid The Gambia.”

“I know how things are at the Jahaly Health Centre and feel very connected to Jahaly. I want to get actively involved in the board work, learn a lot in the process and combine my job and voluntary work.”

What Rieke finds fascinating is that The Gambia is a country with “four different worlds”, as she says. “The world of the capital Banjul, the world of the tourist areas on the coast, the small world on the compound of the project office and then the world of the Jahaly Health centre or in the village of Jahaly.”

On the board, Rieke Wiese represents the northern regional branch of Project Aid, Germany.

Video: Talk w/ Matthias Ketteler on GRTS Gambia TV (2015)

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