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The German Board

Der neue Vorstand der Projekthilfe (von links nach rechts): Ulfert Engelkes, Rolf Kuhlemann, Rieke Wiese, Matthias Ketteler
Der neue Vorstand der Projekthilfe (von links nach rechts): Ulfert Engelkes, Rolf Kuhlemann, Rieke Wiese, Matthias Ketteler

Matthias Ketteler

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Matthias Ketteler, born 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.”

In May 2022, the German President Frank-Walther Steinmeier awarded Matthias Ketteler the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his social commitment.

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.

Ulfert Engelkes

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Ulfert Engelkes, born 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.

Rieke Wiese

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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.

Rolf Kuhlemann

Neu im Vorstand der Projekthilfe: Rolf Kuhlemann

Rolf Kuhlemann, born 1950, studied electrical engineering at the Ruhr University and worked in the energy industry until his retirement. He is married and has two children. As a private citizen, he will serve on the Board, of which he has been a member since 25 November 2022.

In 2010, he came into closer contact with Matthias Ketteler and helped get the five Toyota Land Cruisers ready for the 2011 humanitarian convoy tour to Jahaly. He then participated in the tour as a cook and driver of the “kitchen van”.

“The tour with a great team, the enthusiastic welcome by the villagers of Jahaly and the impressions I made in the first two weeks on the ground made me want to get intensively involved with Project Aid,” says Rolf Kuhlemann. “In 2011 and the years thereafter, I was in Jahaly many times and, among other things, took care of setting up the solar power supply with battery storage.”

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

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