By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
UNICEF Gambia has on Thursday launched a new project cooperation agreement with the Institute for Social Reformation and Action ISRA, focusing on inclusive education for children attending Majalis education system in The Gambia.
The Project funded by UNICEF at a tune of GMD 1.89 Million seeks to create policy dialogues and provide a platform for capacity basic literacy and numeracy skills.
According to officials, the project which is 12 months duration is expected to benefit 2, 500 children attending Majalis education system across the Country.
Speaking at the launch held at the UN Library in Bakau Cape Point, the UNICEF country Representative Sandra Lattouf said the purpose of this agreement is to provide support to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to address the challenge of the large number of children put out of school
According to her the 2016-2030 Education sector Policy commits MoBSE to reduce the number of out of school children by providing alternative forms of education, institute better assessment system, and establish clear learning standard for Majalis students through collaboration with relevant partners.
“It is in this spirit of that collaboration that Unicef and ISRA entered into this partnership agreement to contribute to this education policy priority. It is expected that through this intervention many ‘Talibehs’ will see improvement in their conditions and would be on the right path to realize many of their basic rights,” she stated.
The Unicef Country Rep further added that in a short term, the agreement will support 250 female and male caregivers for capacity building and awareness creation on the importance of meeting ‘Talibehs’ basic needs of food, health, hygiene, sanitation and protection. She noted that under the agreement, about 2,500 ‘Talibehs’ are targeted for the provision of basic literacy and numeracy skills, and this is the first step to enhance the transition from Majalis to Madrassa or conventional primary school.
For his part the Executive Director of Institute for Social Reformation and Action ISRA Phoday Mahmoud Y Kebbeh recalled the ISRA was established as a charitable organization in May 1990.
He said ISRA as a partner of UNICEF had implemented several small scale funding agreements on projects for Talibeh children in the Majalis. During that period, he noted, the UNICEF-ISRA partnership developed guideline and code of conduct for marabouts.
Kebbeh added that this partnership was first conceptualized in mid 2016 in form of an SSF project targeting 2, 500 Talibehs in 50 Majalis in all the 6 educational regions nationally.
Also speaking at the launch, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education Adama Jimba Jobe said the ministry of basic education is delighted to associate with this partnership, noting this is not the first time they have been partnering with UNICEF.
He said the D1.89 million will address some of the challenges the Talibehs are facing during their education, while thanking UNICEF for complementing the national development of the country and assured them that their door at the Ministry of Basic Education is always open for partnership.