Sallie visits our volunteer projects in The Gambia

Sallie visits our volunteer projects in The Gambia

I have just spent 3 wonderful weeks in The Gambia.

Where to start – the progress by all three of the programmes we work with warmed my heart…and I must admit February in The Gambia warmed my body!

We work with three programmes in The Gambia –

Early Childhood Development

Building Livelihoods

and Tourism Training

Early Childhood Development

We first started working with Futures Foundation in 2007 when Lisong Bah had a vision to introduce ECD to The Gambia – our first volunteers worked with her creating a curriculum and designing workshops for Lisong’s work with The Department of Education. Now Lisong’s NGO, Futures Foundation, has a Nursery for over 50 under 6s and Grades 1, 2 and 3 classes for Lower Basic or Primary Education. This model school is called Mary’s Little Lambs.

Mary’s Little Lambs

Futures are working closely with The Department of Education and within the next twelve months will be running government-licensed work shops for ECD on it’s own premises. There are now 9 teachers at Futures and plans are to soon expand into Grades 4, 5 and 6 and most importantly expand creative teaching techniques into primary education.

Whilst the Dept of Education recognises the importance of ECD and creative learning, there are very limited resources and skills in this area. If you have ECD or creative play and learning skills and experience you could make a real impact – take a look here

Whilst I was there we had two volunteers working at Mary’s Little Lambs – a classroom assistant Claudia and a gardener Karen.

Lisong and Karen supervise making the well safe

Claudia joins the Nursery team on Independence Day

Both Claudia and Karen would be happy to talk to you if you want to learn more about their experience.

Building Livelihoods

ASSERT was established in 2000 to bring together, advocate for, and promote a large number of small enterprises that are active in the tourism industry in The Gambia.
These enterprises include craft market vendors, tourist taxi drivers, official tourist guides, juice pressers and fruit sellers, as well as a number of guest houses, small hotels and ground tour operators.  ASSERT is now supporting, training and representing over 80 members and has become a leading player in the Gambian Responsible Tourism Partnership programme being led by the Gambian Tourist Authority, aiming to ensure that the adverse impacts of tourism are minimised and that maximum benefits are gained by local people and their communities.

I visited many members during my visit – including an insprational family producing the most glorious batik ( I bought a lot!)

Batik

and the members of Banjul Craft Market

Banjul Craft Market

`During my placement, I met plenty of ambitious, clever, creative and driven people, who are ready to change the face of Gambia’s tourism practices for the better.  I don’t know exactly what I expected, but I kept being impressed by the positive vibe and hope that overshadowed by far the minor challenges I experienced.‘ Volunteer, Anke

Working with Momodou Secka the General manager at ASSERT we identified that one way volunteers could help the ASSERT members would be to work with individual members on a specific need and then run a workshop for the larger membership using their experience as a workshop … I must come clean now and confess – I hope to do this myself next year…

Sallie and Banjul Market Craftswomen

This is pro-poor tourism at its best! If you have business or design or practical skills we would love to talk with you!

Tourism Training

Tourism offers much-needed income to poor countries. But who gets the holiday money? This award winning training college and local association of tourism businesses helps students and SMEs to gain a livelihood through trade, not aid. The Institute of Travel and Tourism in The Gambia (ITTOG) provides accredited training courses in travel and tourism-related subjects, ranging from Higher Professional Diplomas to tour guiding or cabin crew and airport certificates, priding themselves in the diversity of learning opportunities they offer.  All courses focus on the concept of Responsible Tourism and how to make destinations better places to live in, and better places to visit, in that order. 

Take a look at this video – College principal Tejan Nyang talks about how he believes the volunteer programme can help their work.

And now for some touristy photos

scaling fish at Tanje fish market
by the sea
Serekunda Market

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