Janet and David visited Kanubeh for our last visit doing development work. Together with Kanubeh village representatives, we agreed that Kanubeh villagers had achieved major developmental changes and were well capable of continuing their development work without the support of GUD.
Kanubeh Nursery School has been a great success. Open since January 2010, and run by villagers, the school has won major regional and national awards. The classrooms are dominated by children’s voices and their work hangs from the ceilings and walls in a school where child-centred learning has shaped the school goals. Advanced in many ways, Kanubeh Nursery School has for some 5 years been using phonetics to help children to learn to read and write. Above all children feel happy and secure and love learning! Already nearly 1,000 children are in education who 10 years ago had no opportunities.
Such is the success of Kanubeh’s educational progress that The Gambian Basic and Secondary Education Department has decided to take responsibility for Kanubeh Nursery School and to locate a Lower Basic School (7-11 yr olds) in Kanubeh. They have appointed a Head Teacher, Sona Tarawali, to take charge of the schools. Director of Upper River Region Education, Mr Bakari Ceesay, Kanubeh’s Al Kalo and Janet and David Underwood for GUD met to agree the transfer. The handover from Kanubeh village and GUD to Education of all the school land and assets has been completed in detailed documentation, signed by all parties.
Now, Kanubeh children no longer have to leave the Nursery School one year and next year walk some 8 kilometres daily on a dangerous major Gambian highway. They will go to Lower Basic School in their village. As importantly, education in Kanubeh will now be sustainable, with government ensuring local provision will continue in perpetuity.
For Kanubeh villagers and GUD workers, healthy community development must include economic as well as educational development. To that end, with the support of GUD, Kanubeh villagers completed the building of a 2 metre high block wall around a 3 hectare field, large enough to accommodate over 1000 cashew trees. Over 500 trees are growing healthily and villagers plan to use seed to increase their cashews. Until the trees are a significant size, Kanubeh women will clear and care for the land as market gardens. Income from the cashew crop will be significant, enabling villagers to support their schools, fund their children’s education and also invest in their economy. Global warming will bring higher temperatures and lower rainfall in West Africa. Kanubeh villagers plan to invest in irrigation to be able to guarantee good harvests and increase their growing season.
It has taken over 12 years to complete the development work in Kanubeh. The Gambian government herald it as a great success.
Thank you to all in Gambia, especially Lafi and Mo Touray, and to all who have supported us in England, including Jo, Amy and Sam (our 3 children) and Ann and David Green. Community Development in Gambia had to be financed through intensive fund raising in England.
Thank you to each and every one of you for your help in creating such massive opportunities for Kanubeh village, a village that was being passed by in our modern world.”
Isatou Jarra said "I am going to be a doctor and help people like my villagers." Isatou has been first in her class since the age of 5 years.
Gerra Kanuteh says
“The Gambia Upcountry Development Charity has helped us build our own school. a great community achievement, and is helping us start a cashew farm, This will bring great improvements in our village. Before then there has been much suffering and no change”
Abullai Karawhali says
“School has already changed family life with Fousseini and Howa going to school, We cannot afford to send the older children. The village cashew farm will bring money for them which with education will make all our lives better”
Bringing education and the means for the villagers to support themselves and fund the school
GUD has provided development advice and support as well as practical help with tools and materials. We will now fund the school until 2020.
Since 2010 some extra 700 children have started school thanks to the hard work of the Kanubeh villagers and GUD support.
It’s important to us to be clear about what we do and how we work with the poorer communities in The Gambia. Here are our major initiatives
Janet and David had a two hour meeting with the Minister of Education, Claudiana Cole (see photo), She expressed her gratitude for our work and that of the many others who have supported us over the 12 plus years.