We now have a newly restructured Gunjur Community Link (GCL) Executive Committee.
A letter from the Village Elders describes the new committee as being made up of people who are clearly highly regarded in the community:
“knitted with some of the best talents of Gunjur. You will find them a formidable group to work with!”
We hope we can match their talents and look forward to working with the new GCL in the same spirit of partnership as it has been for the last 30 years.
If anyone would like a copy of previous enewsletters contact the office on email@example.com.
British High Commissioner to The Gambia visits Marlborough
David Morley, High Commissioner to The Gambia, and his wife Jacki spent the day with the Marlborough Brandt Group in Marlborough, Friday 24 May 2013. The programme included a meeting with MBG staff, executive members and trustees where we had the opportunity to discuss MBG'g background, current programme and plans for the future.
Nick Maurice, David & Jacki Morley
It was an opportunity to discuss some of the problems we are facing not least the issue of visas. We are extremely grateful to David Morley for his frankness and honesty and for sharing with us his view of The Gambia and its people of which it is clear that he is immensely fond, as are we all. Sadly he will only be in his post for one more year but has promised that once his successor is appointed he will recommend that he/she come down to Marlborough to meet us.
The UK government mentions his visit https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/british-high-commissioner-visits-wiltshire-town-of-marlborough
and The Gambian newspaper, The Point http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/british-high-commissioner-applauds-gunjur-marlborough-link
We took the opportunity of inviting to our meeting three other Wiltshire based organisations that are working in The Gambia for them to discuss their work with the High Commissioner. Afrikaya, based in Pewsey are working in the field of pre-school education, Gamset, based in Swindon is supporting further education and training for young Gambians and Abbeyfield school, which has a very successful link with Maahad School in Brikama.
It was clear that everyone valued the opportunity to discuss their work and provoked the thought that we should hold a Gambian Linking Conference in Marlborough in the autumn where we bring together schools and organisations in Wiltshire and more widely across the UK that have links to The Gambia to share our work and experiences.
This was followed by a reception in the Town Hall where they we greeted by the Mayor Guy Loosmore and members of the Town Council. The evening was rounded off at St John's Academy where the IB students who were out in Gunjur at Easter gave a moving presentation of their visit. The High Commissioner and his wife were joined by Claire Perry MP, and Claire's daughter Eliza who were also out in Gunjur with MBG this year.
She was introduced by her friend Robert Hiscox of Oare – who is a trustee of the Marlborough Brandt Group which organises the lectures.
The sub-title of Dead Aid reveals the main thrust of her thesis:Why aid is not working and how there's another way for Africa.
Dambisa Moyo told her very attentive and unusually young audience that no nation had been brought to development and economic growth through aid. Her real charges are levelled against state to state aid – not against humanitarian or charitable and individual aid.
State aid has poured one trillion dollars into Africa over the past fifty years and still seventy per cent of Africa’s population have to survive on less than a dollar a day.
She explained that state aid fuels corruption, debt burden, inflation and aid is too often linked to war or civil strife - all of which militated against the effectiveness of this vast inflow of funds.
Dr Moyo, flanked by Robert Hiscox (left) and Dr Nick Maurice (right)Dr Moyo said “The greatest problem with state id is that it allows governments to abdicate their responsibilities.” When services are supplied by foreign agencies “the sanctity of the democratic contract is infringed” and then governments ignore what their people want.
Dambisa Moyo outlined her favoured steps to improve Africa’s economies: more trade, the encouragement of foreign direct inward investment and making Africa part of the international financial system. The latter was already beginning to happen with some countries issuing bonds to support their development.
She believes the economic progress shown by some of Africa’s countries has been despite state aid not because of it. She slightly surprised herself by ending with a quotation not from an economist but from George W Bush: “We should beware of the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Africa can do it if the international community allows it to happen.
In answering a series of questions from the floor, Dr Moyo took delight in explaining that while “The western media create a very negative picture of what China is doing in Africa”, polling has show that a vast majority of Africans approve of China’s actions – which come without any proselytising in favour of religions or democracy. One of her other books is titled Winner Take All: China’s race for resources and what it means for us.
And at the end of the lecture a long queue formed to buy her books and ask her to sign them.
With grateful thanks to Marlborough News Online for this text
and to Chris Caswell for the images.
The Marlborough Brandt Group (MBG) was founded in 1981 by a group of people in a small Wiltshire town who wanted to learn more about the ways of life of people in other parts of the world, and to get a better understanding of the problems of development.
In 1982 we established a link in Gunjur in The Gambia, West Africa and since then, there has been a steady flow of people between the two communities. In particular we send volunteers to spend time working with development projects for a period of three months. At the same time we have volunteers from Gunjur gaining experience in their particular field in Marlborough.
All volunteers, whether they are from UK or from The Gambia, live with families immersed in the life of the community. Our volunteers find that their experience in Gunjur is one that stays with them for the rest of their lives. Most have kept in contact with Gunjur and some have gone into careers related to the development world.
MBG has also been involved with a number of development projects in Gunjur. These are now under the management of the Trust Agency for Rural Development (TARUD) who are also responsible for the volunteers while they are in Gunjur, along with the Gunjur Link Committee (GLC).read more