FIOH staff on retreat ahead of 2023

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By Olimatou Coker

Future In Our Hands, an organisation that aims to bring education closer to the rural people and strengthen their capacity to fight poverty, Monday kick-started a day staff retreat to lay plans ahead of 2023 at Jerreh Camp in Sittanunku, NBR.

The aim of the scheme is to alleviate poverty by enhancing the capacity of community institutions with special emphasis on human rights-based advocacy and livelihood skills training to allow poor and marginalized people to raise their standards of living and economic independence.

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FIOH Gambia works in tandem with village development projects to identify the priority areas of any program before its execution. A plan is then set out in the form of a Community Action Plan. A number of pretty wide issues are tackled such as agriculture and food security, entrepreneurship skills training and civic education, environment, waste management, among others.

Speaking, Jainaba T. Sarr, Director of Future In Our Hands (FIOH), said: “Allow me to highlight some of the defining moments of our work in 2022. In January 2022, we began implementation of the CSO watchdog project, also known as the STAR project, having won and signed the award with the European Union in late 2021.

This annual planning retreat could not be timelier in 2022 our efforts to establish partnerships and funding for the UTG scientific building ramped up to a point where now we are looking forward to establishing a signed relationship with the UTG and embarking on a journey. So please count us in your prayers. The highlight of the year 2022 has been our completion of the net project in which the promotion of women’s political party participation was its cornerstone as well as the GCCA project which did a fantastic job strengthening communities’ resilience to climate change. You can see some of the fruits of that labor in the nearby prints, which hopefully the organizers will take us to, to see what the community has really worked hard to produce through this project period.”

She highlighted that 2022 has also been positively marked by FIOH which is winning two brand new project awards, both with a focus to enhance quality education in the Gambia. She said these are meant to teach and reintegrate out-of-school children through an accelerated program, a food education five-year project built to increase student literacy rates and also to support school feeding.

“Other activities have continued to be a priority for us as we show in our hands. institutional support to smaller organisations and sometimes even bigger organisations.

I know that with the help of the human resources office, we are always thinking of innovative ways to motivate staff. And this retreat is an example of that. So I join the call to make this an annual event to really put our resources together and make sure that this is done annually because we can already see some of the benefits of it,” she added.

”Let’s really take advantage of it and do as much self-reflection as we can. So I am proud to work with all of you and I see how hard we work each day to make the Future In Our Hands become one of the leading organizations, not just NGOs, but just organizations point blank in The Gambia and a model for others to follow. So cheers to a successful 2022. And we look forward to a great retreat these four days as well as a very successful 2023,” she concluded

Also speaking, Kemo S. Kinteh, human resources manager at FIOH, said the significance of this retreat could not be overemphasised. “The organisation FIOH Gambia has been existing in this country for over 40 years. We are active in providing access to education. Then lately we also try to provide quality. By that I mean we work with the basic and secondary education ministry to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools. As an organisation, we also work with communities to enhance and empower them and take part in decision making,” he said.

He said the organisation has built more than 1000 classrooms and they are in 16 communities across the country.

“COVID-19 has also been an impact on our lives and livelihood. So funding has become a big challenge. But we don’t want to relent; we always push on to see that we are glad in this report. We are very prepared because we have already won a few projects that we are supposed to implement. One of them is the food for education with VCRs that schools give to school children as well as to their lives”.

Kinteh said they want to achieve a comprehensive plan that will lead them because they know that, they have developed and have a lot of things to do.

He also said they have been working with the government since the inception of the organization.