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A visit to The Gambia – January 2015

Our visit this year allowed us the opportunity to visit all of the student teachers and schools involved in sponsorship. Of course, we spent time at Mansa-Colley Bojang Nursery and Lower Basic School, where we met some old friends and new faces. The school rearranged their timetable so that we could be part of the annual sporting event for all of the children and parents. It was a good turnout! Quite how they did so much running in 33 degrees Celsius was beyond us.

There was so much happening at the school with a new wall almost complete, new toilets and the foundations for the dining area being constructed. It was such a pleasure to see how well the teachers have developed under the headteacher Matilda. To date, SAGT has supported 5 teachers at Mansa-Colley, 3 ECD teachers and 2 PTC teachers. Fatoumata, Charlotte and Philip are now qualified. Jack will qualify this year and Fatou in 2016.

Our trip took us to the other 3 schools we have student teachers at; Step by Step Nursery School in Kitty Village, Kobisala Nursery and Primary School in Sanyang and St. Matthew’s Nursery School in Besse. These schools were all quite different but one common feature was the quality of the student teachers. Binta in her first year has made a great start and her headteacher speaks very highly of her. Joko is a very confident teacher and her classroom was a very stimulating and attractive place to learn. Ellen is the only teacher in her school, but she has qualities that are so impressive when dealing with a remote village school and the challenges that come with that. Ellen like Joko is in her second year of training.

We are extremely grateful to Mucki for arranging a meeting with the Early Childhood Development Association (ECDA) committee of the Western Division of The Gambia. We met 7 headteachers who play a key role in an area with 138 schools. They are now involved in the selection of student teachers and schools in areas that will benefit most from SAGT’s support. Working in partnership with the ECDA is going to be a key factor in the development of SAGT in the future.

This was such a wonderful visit for many reasons. We have been able to see first hand the fantastic achievements by Gambian teachers with the support of SAGT’s sponsors.In Mansa-Colley, we have seen what can be done by committed and inspirational people, such as Mucki, the teachers and the community, when they work together with the help of sponsors. We believe that SAGT now has a much more sustainable way of moving forward and doing more through our partnerships, so that other schools and communities can benefit too.