By Olimatou Coker
The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on Friday donated items worth above $ 200,000 to its partners Caritas the Gambia and Future-In-Our-Hands (FIOH) to support the implementation of field activities of the project.
The handing-over ceremony was held at the CRS office in Fajara.
The items donated include 18 motorcycles and 3 pickup vehicles, which FIOH is given 2 pickup vehicles, and 7 motorcycles while Caritas got 1 pickup vehicle and 11 motorcycles.
CRS and its partners are implementing a 5-year project supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) McGovern-funded food for education and child nutrition project in the Gambia. The project is aimed at providing nutritional support to school dropouts, improving performance as well and promoting healthy growth and development of the children.
The project is being implemented in 186 schools in 4 regions of the Gambia namely CRR, URR, NBR, and Kanifing.
Njong James Kongnyuie, the Chief of Party (CoP) Mcgovern Dole Food For Education Project the Gambia, informed the gathering of the project’s objectives which are to improve access to education and literacy as well as the health and well-being of the students, especially the girl child and to achieve that they will be working with two credible partners, FIOH and Caritas.
He said this initiative holds significant value as it directly contributes to the successful implementation of the USDA McGovern Dole Food for Education Project in The Gambia.
“The impact of this generous contribution is immense. The motorcycles and vehicles will serve as vital logistical assets, facilitating the mobility of project staff at the field level to reach and serve beneficiary schools. This project intervention will play a pivotal role in ensuring that children receive nutritious meals that will address short-term hunger and improve attendance and attentiveness in school,” he explained.
He urged both parents to use the motorcycles and vehicles for official project use, “it is not an item to be used for individual and private purposes” saying that the items remain the property of USDA until otherwise stated.
Kongnyuie also emphasized the need to comply with donor requirements.
Mrs Jainaba Sarr, Director of Future-In-Our-Hands (FIOH), said this project is not only going to have an impact on FIOH but the entire Gambia as a whole.
Director Sarr emphasized their commitment to seeing through the success of this project, and said that they are not just doing it for the sake of work. “This has a very important impact on our future as a country and we believe that carrying out our tasks diligently will record such a success in terms of the quality of education in his country as well as health”.
She thanked CRS for the support saying that these vehicles are tools to meet their goals and they will use them diligently as addressed.
Rev Sister Marie Mendy, Project Manager of Caritas the Gambia, assured CRS that team Caritas will not water down the aim, goal, and objectives of this project.
She also said they are ready to pour out themselves in the service of mankind and ready to make sure that they have additional years to this project because it is very important and dear to all Gambians.
“We will pour in all it takes to ensure that if need be, the second phase is rewarded to the country; that is what we stand for.”
Sister Marie made a commitment that they are ready make sure that basic training is provided to ensure that these motorcycles and vehicles serve them as long as possible.