Sponsorship of Primary Schools (Koba Kunda, St George's and St Joseph's)
April 18th, 2010
On February 15th, 2010, Mamadou Sellou Jallow hand-delivered the sum of D8,400 donated by the Basse Association, Inc. to the three primary schools in Basse. He gives an account of the ceremony, and makes some observations and recommendations.
A Narrative Report On My Basse Trip
By Mamadou Sellou Jallow
Due to time shortage, I could not visit the three schools. However the coordinator of the occasion, Michael Secka, did a wonderful job by inviting officials from the two of the three schools to come down to St. Joseph's Primary School grounds. The location was ideal for its centrality.
On attendance were the Upper River Region Governor Alhaji Omar Khan and his deputy, the regional education officer, headmasters and teachers, media and members of the Parent -Teacher Association (PTA).
Michael Secka chaired the occasion, and all the invitees including the governor and regional education officer, expressed their gratitude and highlighted that this was the first time sons of Basse had come together under one umbrella to give something back to their own community. They said that many had done it before but what made it exceptional this time was that “sons of Basse” had realized that they needed to give back to the community that gave them so much.
The sum of D8,400 was handed over to the education officer who urged all the schools to deposit the funds into their respective accounts and in fact she said she wanted to see the funds reflected in their accounts immediately and demanded that their financial books be sent to her in the coming weeks.
The body PTA was represented and they stressed that they would monitor the names of the pupils selected so that there wouldn't be any impropriety in the selection process. A control mechanism for fairness was being thought out.
Finally, the school authorities expressed their great wishes to have their schools fenced. They said this would prevent domestic animals from straying onto the school grounds during and after school hours. It was a direct appeal to the Basse Association. Another request was to try and link the schools in Basse with counterpart schools abroad.
(Please see the list of the pupils that benefited from the scheme, a receipt from the bank for the money transfer, a confirmation letter that the funds had been received and letters of appreciation from all the three schools.)
Mosque Project: Observations and Recommendations
I was able to sit with the BA Basse representative Dawda Sankareh and discuss the mosque's current conditions. There is the uncompleted women section and the Madarassa, but the more pressing issue is the toilets and their deplorable conditions. I saw some people even easing themselves up against the fence-wall which is very odd to see in a mosque yard.
Dawda and I agreed that we needed to be very pragmatic. The project should be done in phases to avoid being caught in another consultation marathon again. First and foremost, it is important to inform the mosque committee that we would like to build them some toilets. Thereafter, we have to start laying bricks for starters. So this is where we are now.
At the time of writing, Dawda was going to check exactly how much was this project going to cost. So first we have to know what the prices of sand, cement and labor are. This information is especially important for the bricks and we need to determine how many of them are required initially. Once this is known, we can then send funds to that effect.
How can we get the funds there?
My first thought was to deal with one of the big business people in town, Alhaji Malick Jallow. He can release funds upon advice and he can keep record of the project outlays. We can use his existing networks; and the people buying the materials would inform us about what they needed first prior to buying so Alhaji Malick could help get the best price and terms. Obviously, this will be subject to executive approval.
On another note, our people on the ground can also help by asking for labor assistance and other materials that may be helpful to the project.
I hope that I have informed you all accordingly and completely. Disclaimer: The suggestions recommended here are simply my own and I hope that they can be helpful. Fine tune or revamp them. If the goal is achieved, then the means becomes less important in this case.
Mamadou Sellou Jallow is the Vice-president of Basse Association, Inc. He lives in Deventer, The Netherlands.