History

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The Marlborough Brandt Group was formed in 1981 by a group of individuals living in Marlborough, Wiltshire in response to the 1980 Brandt Report ‘North-South: A Programme for Survival’.

The report by the Independent Commission on International Development Issues chaired by Willy Brandt, provided a clear analysis of how the global economy had failed to promote social, economic and humanitarian equality within the developing nations, found primarily in the Southern Hemisphere, and how those challenges could be globally addressed.

At the time the report had mass media coverage and was a strong call to action not only to world leaders and politicians but also to people from every walk of life.

welcome-party-GunjurDuring this time there was an emergence of community led non Governmental organisations (NGOs) across Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Caribbean exploring the potential for the development of partnerships for solidarity and mutual learning.

The founding members of MBG, several of whom had international experience working in the Global South decided that they wanted to learn more about the ways of life of people in other parts of the world - to gain a better understanding of the problems of development. The Marlborough Brandt Group was founded with four broad aims:

  • to educate the group in Marlborough about issues concerning development in the global South
  • to bring those issues to a wider constituency through work in schools, with the media, and with the wider public through a series of lectures and an educational programme
  • to work with and lobby politicians, recognising that international development at that time was low on the agenda and hardly mentioned in the manifestos of the main political parties
  • to develop a partnership link with a community in the global South to bring authority to the learning, teaching and lobbying that MBG would undertake 

A comprehensive summary of the Brandt Report can be found on Share the World Resources website. Since that time MBG has grown into a dynamic, inclusive and effective charity, the foundations of which were laid by people, some who remain active volunteers today. Taking MBG forward to bring in new people, particularly young people, with fresh ideas. MBG is constantly evolving, adapting and responding to new challenges.

MBG has always been community based, giving something back to Marlborough through its unique link twinned with Gunjur and to its wider community through Wiltshire schools so that all can benefit.

Marlborough can be proud of its heritage with Gunjur as illustrated by the road signs at the entrance to each town.

  Timeline

  • 1981 MBG founded and forges a link with the Muslim community in Gunjur, The Gambia

  • 1982 MBG gets charitable status. Bill Spray is elected MBG's first President

  • 1982 First Annual Marlborough Brandt Lecture by Frank Judd, Director of VSO in Marlborough Town Hall

  • 1983 First visitors from Marlborough (Jane Grenfell, Head of Maths at St John’s School and Clare James, sixth form student) visit Gunjur for one month, that same year Bai Bojang student from Gunjur, visits Marlborough

  • 1983 GLC Gunjur Link Committee is set up to facilitate links between the two communities

  • 1985 First group of young people from St John's School and Marlborough College visit Gunjur to help construct a five classroom block for the primary school

  • 1986 the first group from Gunjur to Marlborough help construct an adventure playground on a council estate in Marlborough

  • 1988 HRH the Princess Royal gives the sixth Annual Brandt Lecture

  • 1993 Wiltshire Global Education Centre WGEC is established as the educational arm of MBG

  • 1993 Lord Judd, onetime Minister for Overseas development spends a week in Gunjur and meets Sir Dawda Jawara, President of The Gambia
  • 1997 following the award to MBG of a grant of £400,000 from the National Lottery, TARUD was formed in Gunjur as a Gambian registered NGO and a Project Support Group in Marlborough is established

  • 1997 MBG funds an engineering study to provide piped water to Gunjur and hands it in person to President Yaya Jammeh
  • 1998 Isatou Jammeh and Masireh Touray meet HM The Queen at a reception at St James' Palace for Commonwealth Youth Exchange volunteers

  • 2000 Marlborough Gunjur link officially recognised and signs on the roads into Marlborough erected, to be followed two years later by signs at the entrances to Gunjur

  • 2007 DFID Research reveals that people in Marlborough have a greater understanding of and support for international development than in five similar communities. This is thought to be due to the long link with Gunjur and leads to £5m being used by DFID to set up a national community linking programme

  • 2007 Archbishop Desmond Tutu launches the UKOWLA Toolkit for Linking at Marlborough House. Sandang Bojang, Mbanding Jammeh and Mankamang Touray give a presentation to the Archbishop of the Marlborough Gunjur Link

  • 2011 Director of Disability Africa visits Gunjur and commits to embarking on the Gunjur Inclusion Project
  • 2012 Research reveals that Gunjur will meet the MDGs
  • 2013 Claire Perry MP for Devizes constituency visits Gunjur for one week with her daughter Eliza, staying with a family in the community
  • 2013 A group of IB students from St John's spend 2 weeks in Gunjur working and studying as part of their IB course
  • 2013 Gunjur Community Link Committee GCL is restructured and a new democratically elected committee is established representing 8 kabilos (wards) in Gunjur, women & minority groups 

  • 2013 MBG is awarded a grant of £1241 from Marlborough Area Board to develop a new website
  • 2013 Electricity arrives in Gunjur
  • 2014 Piped water arrives in Gunjur
  • 2014 Successful completion of pit latrine project - 152 latrines built including 4 communal latrines in the central market
  • 2015 Business Entepreneur Scheme launched
  • 2016 Karen Bulsara appointed as MBG's part-time paid Director