By Saikou Suwareh Jabai

Child Fund The Gambia, in collaboration with Saamasang Federation, has recently released Child Progress Report 2015 (CPR) to sponsors as part of their mandate to promote child welfares in the communities.

The report signed by the Child Fund The Gambia National Director Mr. James Pimundu states that Child Fund The Gambia would continue to work with Local Partners Community Based Organizations to provide support for children their families and the communities they live.

‘’These supports go to ensure that infants are healthy and secure through the provision of clean water, medical services at the community and family levels; ensuring that children are educated and confident through paying school fees,’’ he said.

He noted further that provision of learning and teaching materials, paying of teachers’ salaries and training of school management committees; and ensuring that youths are skilled through facilitating capacity building trainings, entrepreneurship development programmes, life skills and livelihood development programmes are paramount.

Facilitating their participation according to him in the Local Area Councils and Community Committees and Boards that coordinate the entire development programmes of the communities is key in both Saamasang and Child Fund The Gambia’s operation.

‘’As the year 2015 is dedicated to water, Child Fund The Gambia has constructed 17 wells and 9 water filtering machines to communities in hard to reach areas, as this intervention has increased access to safe drinking water and reduced reported cases of diarrhea and other water related diseases,’’.

A group of community members were formed and trained to disseminate water and sanitation messages through drama and songs in villages and schools in order to be informed on the importance of water in human life.

Dilating on the Care and Development of infants and young children, he said a total of 250 lactating mothers received parental education and support. Four (4) community based child protection mechanisms were established through which in one out of every three Early Childhood Centre, eight (8) Children were identified, trained and supported as Child Protection Focal Persons.

Also a total of 375 children in three ECD centres benefited from a health checkup/ health screening. This exercise covers eye checking, chest/respiratory checking, checking of their ears and dental checking just to promote their health status.

A nutrition education for 50 pregnant women and 75 lactating mothers was provided in partnership with Health and Nutrition Unit of Brikama Health Centre (BHC) as well.

Other programs implemented by Saamasang and Child Fund The Gambia includes the Quality Learning Opportunities and Enhancing Achievements in Basic Education as Child Protection Trainings were conducted in 6 Lower Basic Schools with 12 children identified as focal persons and currently there are 12 schools having children both boys and girls as members of the senior management committee.

The Leadership and Livelihood Skills for Youth is another activity implemented to access this pathway and includes the training of 60 youths in entrepreneurship, Livelihood Skills Training and Support for enterprise development. Of these 10 are hair dressers with their own hair dressing saloons, 6 are shoe makers with their own enterprise, 8 caterers with their own catering enterprise, 12 have gained employment in various private and government institutions whilst 14 are self-employed as fruit transformers, plumbers, mechanics, etc.