By Olimatou Coker
With a mission to support communities to undertake food, nutrition and humanitarian initiatives to enhance the quality of life for the people in the Gambia, Gambia Food and Nutrition Association (GAFNA) on Tuesday supported the pupils Sibanor Lower Basic School by fencing one side of the perimeter fence of the garden, provision of assorted vegetables seeds and tools, and provision of a new solarized borehole at a handing over ceremony held at Sibanor Village in foin.
GAFNA is the main NGO implementing partner for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees(UNHCR) supporting refugees living in both rural and urban settings to realize local integration through diverse livelihood activities.
According to its officials during their routine field monitoring/assessment of refugee students’ educational performance information
reveal that the Sibanor Lower Basic School has an acute problem of shortage of clean water supply to serve students and teachers. The school also reported the poor state of their school vegetable garden/orchard that
is due to shortage of water supply and inadequate protection of the perimeter fence.
In November last GAFNA has received funding from the American Embassy-Banjul through its Julia Taft Refugee Fund to respond to the request from the management, staff and pupils of the Sibanor Lower Basic School by fencing
one side of the perimeter fence of the garden, provision of assorted vegetable seeds and tools, and provision of a new solarized borehole that is now providing uninterrupted supply of clean drinking water from four improved water drinking/collection points for 609 pupils including refugee children and 36 staff/teachers and the extension of pipe borne water supply to the vegetable garden/orchard.
Speaking at the ceremony, Yusufa J. Gomez, the Executive Director of GAFNA, explained that during the field monitoring assessment of refugees students education performance information reveals that Sibanor basic school has an acute shortage of clean water supply to both students and teachers. “This project came as a result of the problems that have been numerous here, we are just here today to present these assorted vegetables input, the in assorted seeds and also tools to also inspect the completed water project”.
He revealed that the third phase is coming which is defecting part of the vegetable garden.
Landing Sanyang , the Principal of Sibanor Lower Basic School, commended GAFNA for the support saying that it will not only address the water problem but the school feeding program as well.
“The former head Gibril Kujabi was the one who wrote a request to GAFNA for them to come and support because we had refugees that were children enrolled in school here, and they are up to 50.” He explained
Ensa Jarjue, the Deputy of Sibanor Lower Basic School, siad this particular project in their school is a dream come through because the school has been long since struggling to get clean water.But with the intervention of GAFNA the school is able to have clean water.
“They have erected a borehole here of which the community in fact has come to join the school to be able to have a good garden. Now this garden we are hoping is going to complement the school feeding program in the school. Because most of the proceeds that we get in the garden will supplement the school feeding program of the students”.
He added the refugee children that they have, which this project has come purposely for, are 50 students in number.it will help them for the community to appreciate them so that they will be able to be incorporated in the communities.
He also thanked GAFNA for reaching out to their schools and for funding this project.
While adding that they are hoping that with this intervention they will have more yields in years to come.
Also speaking, the President of the Mother Club, Isatou Jarju, and Salifu Sowe, the School Senior Management Committee Chairman, both acknowledged that the support will strengthen relationships between refugees and their host community.
GAFNA, is a non governmental organization supporting refugees and their hosts through life hood projects, such as school improvements, vegetables seeds, supplies of water and sanitary facilities