Despite geographical chasms of distance and race , the two communities have had a link for 32 years which involved exchange of people and collaboration in development projects.
Expressing gratitude at the development,the organisation stated:
“We are thrilled to hear that we have been awarded the Arkleton Trust Award for £16,500. Regular visitors to our website and readers of our monthly newsletters will know we have been very concerned about youth unemployment in Gunjur. As you will also know the Wiltshire Global Education Centre run by Caroline Harmer is an intrinsic part of MBG’s work.
Bringing these two elements together has resulted in our developing a proposal and the grant will allow us to run a competition between schools in Wiltshire whose pupils, in groups of five, will be invited to produce business plans which would be appropriate for development by entrepreneurs in Gunjur. At the same time, the competition will be open to new young business entrepreneurs in Gunjur who, again in groups of five, will be asked to develop business plans.
“The winners of the Wiltshire schools competition will travel to Gunjur to share their proposal with the winners of the competition there and the two proposals will be given startup funding. In the meantime we are putting five potential entrepreneurs through City and Guilds training at the Gambian Technical Training Institute and will be supporting current entrepreneurs with small loans to expand their businesses whether hairdressing, beekeeping, making fuel efficient stoves fired by peanut husk briquettes, tailoring or vegetable gardening. There’s a lot going on in Gunjur”.
The president of Marlborough Brandt Group and co-founder of the link,Dr Nick Maurice, added:
“There is no question that aid can do a lot of harm unless it is properly owned by the people for whom it is destined, properly targetted and sustainability is written in to the aid programme. A problem that we often face is getting the balance right between proactitivity as opposed to reactivity. The reality is often that when we from Marlborough come to Gunjur we can see areas where development is very much required and if we are not careful can be seen to be imposing our ideas on where the focus should be.
“Whereas, ideally it should be TARUD at the heart of promoting a development programme in consultation with the wider Gunjur community and in particular the poorest minority members of the community, developing a strategy, working up a proposal and presenting it to us for consideration. A case in point is the work we are currently doing considering how we can combat the problem of unemployment amongst young men in Gunjur by seeking the potential entrepreneurs in the community who with a little bit of financial support could start up successful businesses, employing others and bringing wealth to the community. The reality is that this idea came from the Marlborough end although we are delighted that already a lot of work has been done by colleagues in Gunjur developing a strategy for dealing with the issue”.]]>