By Baka Dem
The Nova Scotia Gambia Association on Friday concluded a three-week intensive summer school camp for more than 100 students and teacher coordinators from schools across the Lower River Region.
The camp held at the Soma Lower Basic School with funding from the Panicaro Foundation in Canada was meant to instill knowledge and skills in the participants in the areas of education and health.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Senior Project Manager at NSGA, François Mendy, said the summer school is designed to equip the peer health educators with relevant knowledge and skills to effectively execute their roles as PHEs. Mendy extolled the determined efforts of the NSGA team for registering success in the 2018 edition of the summer school, while commending their partners (Panicaro Foundation) for sponsoring the program 5years on the trot.
He also hailed the collaborative partnership of the Ministries of Basic Education and Health adding that at NSGA they are aware of government’s stance on education and health as such they will complement its efforts in those areas.
For his part, the project Coordinator who also doubles as the Director of the Summer school Haruna Jallow, said the NSGA has been operating in the Gambia spanning three decades on complementary community health initiatives and youth empowerment through the Peer Health Education program.
According to him, in January 2018, the NSGA secured funding from the Panicaro Foundation to implement a one year project in 100 upper and senior secondary schools across the country.
“This project is aimed at consolidating peer health education program and community mobilization by promoting resource based management, gender equity and youth leadership through health and human rights education in The Gambia.” He added: “An important component of this project is to organize a summer school program that will avail us the opportunity to consolidate the work done by PHEs and TCs during the academic year, strengthen identified weaknesses as well as develop work plans for the coming academic year.” While commending the partnership of the education and health ministries, Jallow reminded the teacher coordinators to be conscious of the conditions of the country as such, he called on them to conduct researches directed at alleviating the country’s problems. “Teach, learn and thereby extend increasingly the frontiers of your knowledge.”
On the summer school, Jallow stated that, the school also encompassed an open day where the Peer health educators demonstrated the knowledge gained through poetry, quiz, debate impromptu speeches, comedy and drama competitions. He also lauded the dynamism of the NSGA regional coordinating team for their hard work.
He finally enjoined the participants to spread the knowledge gained as well as to live the gospel of the NSGA; “learn and teach others”.
The Guest Speaker of the occasion, Demba Jawo, who is also the Regional Education Director, Region 4, expressed gratitude to the NSGA for organising the summer school in his region saying “the NSGA summer was an enormous display of social and academic maturity”. Director Jawo noted that competition is high in the country, urging the students to be insatiable in their pursuit for excellence in their education.
He assured the NSGA of his office’s readiness to always partner with them in their activities.
The event climaxed with the awarding of prizes and certificates to deserving individuals.