This blog follows our post: A History of Running Fundraisers
During our Dec’ visit we took T-shirts and Medals hoping to unite Mansajang youth connected to the female co-operative garden, in a day of running as a healthy celebration. Unfortunately, it co-insided with a few other community events that took priority – mainly an all important football final.
Football here is a huge community affair, and a chance to take break from the farms and the hustle and bustle of survival with great pride and community honour. This was the first final Mansajang had reached for over 3 years. More emotionally, the victory-draught had followed the sad death of one of their beloved players following a head injury during a game. It meant everything to don his remembrance T-shirt and honour him.
Triumphantly Mansajang won 3-1, going down in history as one of the best finals the Basse region has seen. The entire village needed that victory, and boy did they celebrate it! Victory was sweet, Mansajang was back on the map!
Well following this, along with the traditional aging ceremonies that take over the village for several months, the end of school year examinations and the pre-rainy season farming preparations, some of our friends were then able to pull together a running festival – Gambian Style!
Where football is a dominant sport, running as a hobby or as an event is less heard of but something we hope to collaborate more on.
Route: Village – Playing Fields (warm up) – Mansajang Garden, – Basse Town – Basse River.
Watch: Some clips from the community run and community celebrations…
The core part of our work supports women to launch co-operative gardens as micro-businesses to provide income earning opportunities selling the cultivated vegetable produce at market. It also helps by improving the variety, quantity and quality of vegetables and nutrition in their family’s diets. Women play a central role in the family unit and we see that this income has helped to directly feed the family, support education fees and pay for health care – vital for any healthy family to prosper and thrive.
Our other successful pilot projects have helped schools to develop gardens to teach agriculture by transforming practical and hands on growing experiences. With teacher supervision, the children love looking after their vegetable beds, and the vegetables help improve the diet within the school meals. Isatou has fond memories as a school activity that has helped shaped her today.
Our continued exploration, and discussions with the UN World Wood Program (WFP) consultants, is to develop these community and school pilots into a hybrid model that will blend private and public efforts so that the community can thrive and the schools system can self-sustain its school feeding program beyond the WFP.
Most of the youth in our sporting events have mums, sisters or aunts that are actively involved in the women’s gardens and as a result they have directly felt the benefit by either consuming healthy vegetables or having education fees supported. It’s important, and a delight, for us to collectively celebrate what the village has and can achieve together.
In the past it was the youth that lead our Mansajang cattle water-well and troth feeding project. This helped to solve a problem with keeping cattle in the bush to protect the families compounds, and vegetable gardens. It also helped improve the quality of life and protection of the cattle, as an initiate that was led by the youth demonstrating their intelligent vision and passion to community development issues. When listened to, supported and empowered, they achieved great things.
Most fundraising is currently offline and through MegaMeterRun membership/t-shirt purchases, however the ambassadors have set up a donation link for Q4 fundraising and donations. We are looking to support a new community group to launch a new garden in early 2020, and we would love for you to consider a kind donation to help keep this work alive…
Total Online & Offline raised this year so far = £1,900 (£5k, would help support two new communities).
Please Donate Now – https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gambia2019T
Follow on social media for more images and videos from the gardens
To everyone that’s supported and continues to support, a HUGE thank you.
We can never achieve any of this without you.
Paul & Isatou