The initiative is a product of decades of relations between the Gunjur and Marlborough in UK, called Gunjur-Marlborough Link.
Dr Nick Maurice, the director of Marlborough Brandt Group, said: “This relationship came about as a result of a report in 1980. A group of us in Marlborough thought this report was making some very important statements. We decided to send a letter to the high commissioners in London of about ten different countries and it was the High Commissioner of The Gambia, Abdoulie Bojang, who wrote back in response to our letter.”
He said Bojang suggested to them to form a link with Gunjur. He added: “We agreed that we would support a development programme in Gunjur and we setup a partnership with the Trust Agency for Rural Development. Our work involves pre-school education and the TARUD pre-school was built by people from Marlborough and the people of Gunjur. We have been involved in health education programmes; teaching people about some of the causes of diseases so they can have an understanding of diseases and then they can prevent themselves.
“We have been involved in women literacy programmes enabling women to understand English and understand numbers. There is a women vegetable garden that we have supported for the last fourteen years. We are concerned that men are also not left behind and we have a problem in The Gambia as we do in Africa and the UK. This is the problem of unemployment among young people. We have chosen eight people from each of the kabilolu to go to the Gambia Technical Training Institute for training in a variety of skills ranging from secretarial work, computer studies, plumbing, and electrical work. Now that Gunjur in the last six months has received electricity and pipe water, there are so many opportunities for new businesses to develop.”
Buba Touray, the program manager of Tarud said: “Skills development is a primary means of enabling young people to make a smooth transition to work. It serves as a means to bring about the desired change in society.”
He said the business plan will attract and encourage a group of five young people to come up with an innovative idea for an enterprise, which will contribute to the sustainable development of the community. “It will create employment opportunities for the youths in Gunjur by rewarding or providing a special incentive to the participants of the competition. The business development programme will provide valuable products and services in the community, promote innovation and development.”]]>