In August 2008 I sat in a remote village hospital in The Gambia, West Africa, watching my brother lay in the hospital bed twitching at a medicine induced sleep whilst recovering from an unfortunate food poisoning. At the same time a beautiful young 5 year old girl named Kadijatou Kanteh was admitted due to dehydration and malnutrition. My brother recovered fine due to the fortunate access of medication and the skilful education and training of the local doctor and his support staff. Sadly, Kadijatou’s illness was more serious. Her health deteriorated in front of our eyes and we watched helplessly as she sadly passed away. Seven years ago I felt very strongly that a young child passing away from dehydration and malnutrition was criminal, and I still do.
I was in the Gambia in 2008-2009 as a Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) volunteer building regional IT Capacity for the ministry of education and running change projects in international development. This experience motivated me to set up and manage a number of Agricultural projects supporting local communities and female co-operatives to apply technology, business intelligence and creative entrepreneurial thinking to reduce poverty, increase income and nutrition, and better improve lives.
Past Projects included:
Mansajang Cattle Well and Village Protection
Kabakama Female Co-operative Vegetable garden
Kabakama Extension Garden
Kabakama Bannana Garden
St Joseph School Garden
Sekuta School Fencing / Kitchen Project
I was lucky enough to directly support some fantastic community projects, watching enterprising and entrepreneurial people pull together in the face of adversity to build a better future for themselves, their families and communities.
You can read more, on my blog @ www.MegaMeterRun.wordpress.com
I plan to re-visit The Gambia in June working with Concern Universal and local partners to complete a final diagnostic and baseline report, before this ‘seed money’, the financial injection, will be used to help kick start the project into gear.
- UN HDI* ranks The Gambia 172 out of 187 countries for human development (UK sits 14th)
- Life Expectancy at birth is 58 years (79.3 in UK)
- UN research shows 60% live below the poverty line
- 70% of whom are rural, 80% are women
I have set this challenge to help get back into running which I have previously found to be great for fitness and health as well as providing more focus and motivation.
The Mansajang community have continuously set themselves ambitious goals and agriculture, health and nutrition are key components to achieving them.
““Boto kensengo buka lo no” – An Empty Bag Cannot Stand (Gambian Proverb, Mandinka)
Meaning: A Hungry person, cannot work. Fill a bag with something flimsy, it might just stand, but fill it with something sturdy, it can stand on its own for a very long time.
Thank you very much for reading, the Mansajang community would greatly appreciate any support you are able to give.