About Us

About Us

Gunjur Marl Link

The Marlborough Brandt Group (MBG) one of the oldest community links in the world.  We connect the people of Marlborough and the surrounding area with the people of Gunjur in The Gambia.  We facilitate a range of student and adult community trips to work in partnership with volunteers in Gunjur on community projects, fund employability and micro-finance initiatives and give grants to other charities based on the ground in Gunjur.  We are a volunteer run charity with a mirror community group in Gunjur called the Gunjur Community Link.

Our History

MBG was set up in 1981 by a committed group of people living in and around Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK, who responded to the publication of the Brandt Report ‘North South – A Programme for Survival’, published by Willy Brandt one time Chancellor of West Germany.

In 1982 a link was forged between Marlborough and Gunjur, a Muslim community in The Gambia, in the hope that by gaining a deeper understanding of each other through shared experiences and mutual exchange this would educate not only those directly involved but politicians and the wider communities around them.

Since then MBG and its partner organisations in The Gambia have achieved just that! With over 2,000 people from Wiltshire and The Gambia taking part in the exchange program, staying with local families, contributing to community projects and sharing best educational practices.

School-children-play-Gambian-instrumentsToday we are a volunteer led charity that continues to support young people and adults from in and around Marlborough to experience life in The Gambia and live and work with the people of Gunjur.  We work closely with several partner organisations to deliver programmes in Gunjur while also delivering our annual lecture and quiz in Marlborough.

Over the past 30 years, groups of students from St John’s Academy and Marlborough College have been going on educational visits to Gunjur to stay with host families and more recently staying in the community centre. Some of those students have returned for longer volunteer placements and have gone on to use Gunjur as part of their PhD theses research. A 16th Summer Trip group completed their three week trip July and August 2018 and a 2020 trip is booked up.

Many young Gambians have visited Marlborough either on short visits to be involved in projects in Marlborough and surrounding schools in Wiltshire or for longer periods of training in a variety of skills, from early childhood education, social work, hotel management, librarianship and welding.  Sadly since 2008 it has not been possible for young Gambians to come on exchange trips, although some senior members of the Gunjur community have travelled to Marlborough for conferences and community meetings.

MBG also supports development and sustainability programmes in The Gambia coordinated and managed its partner organization TARUD (Trust Agency for Rural Development) in Gunjur.

Lord-Boeteng-Lent-Lecture-2012

Our annual Lent Lecture has been running for over 30 years, with guest keynote speakers on International Development including HRH Princess Royal as President of Save the Children, Archbishop George Carey, Lord Kinnock, Jonathan Porritt, Barbara Stocking, Director of OXFAM, Clare Short MP, and Andrew Mitchell as Secretaries of State for International Development, journalists Jon Snow, George Alagiah, Mark Tully and Deputy Secretary General of the UN Mark Malloch-Brown.

MBG has long been recognized and used within the international linking communities such as UKOWLA as an example of a successful and sustainable community link. This has led to the promotion and development of community based partnerships between communities across the UK with counterparts in the Global South.

From 1993 to 2007 we ran the Wiltshire Global Education Centre delivering a wealth of programmes in the UK and Gunjur. 

In 2013 Marlborough Area Board awarded a grant of £1,241 to develop a new website. The website was launched February 2014 and we sincerely thank the Marlborough Area Board for their support.