On September 21, the U.S. Embassy held a signing ceremony granting over 2.5 million dalasis to 10 community groups throughout The Gambia. The money was given as part of the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) program. This community-driven assistance program allows the U.S. Embassy to respond to local requests for small development projects. These programs directly impact people’s lives in a positive way and highlight the partnership between the Gambian and American people.
The SSH program encourages communities to be self-reliant and continue related activities on their own in the future. All SSH projects are community-based, locally initiated, administered at the local level and include significant community contributions in cash, labor, or materials.
Responding to almost 250 proposals received from groups throughout The Gambia, the U.S. Embassy selected 10 communities for funding during the 2016/2017 funding cycle. Three projects in the North Bank Region, Central River Region, and Upper River region will help ensure a safe drinking water supply for the communities of Kerr Ali, Manna Village, and Kulukulleh. Four communities in the North Bank Region, Upper River Region, and West Coast Region were awarded money for construction projects ranging from fencing for a school and community orchard; a community shed and market; and culverts between Tinkinjo and Sabou Sire villages. The community of Jamagen Village in CRR will build a health post, including solar electricity. Fellengkoto Jokere Endam in LRR will purchase a coos milling machine, and Maantaabeng in the West Coast Region will use its award to develop youth livelihood skills for a better and more prosperous economic future.
U.S. Embassy Banjul also granted 1.1 million dalasis from the Julia Taft Refugee Fund to the Gambia Food and Nutrition Association to support the large refugee population within the Fonis, in the West Coast Region of The Gambia. These refugees are from the Casamance region of Southern Senegal. Due to the region’s ongoing conflict, individuals and families continue to move across the Gambian/Senegalese border.
This grant will enable GAFNA to strengthen Child Welfare Centers for refugee and host family children in six isolated communities within the Foni District in West Coast Region. The project will mainly purchase cereal milling machines for income generation, provide supplementary and nutritious feeding to the enrolled children, and empower the mothers’ clubs to effectively manage and sustain the Child Welfare Centers.
In her remarks, Ambassador Alsup said that the success of each project will depend on the hard work and dedication of each community. She added that it is only by pooling our resources that we can make truly significant contributions to national development.