Hardenhuish School win Global Entrepreneurs Challenge 2016


4 Year 10 students from Hardenhuish School in Chippenham spent their Whitsun holiday savouring their win in the final of the 2nd Global Entrepreneurs’ Challenge, organised by Wiltshire Global Education Centre, the educational arm of the Marlborough Brandt Group which has linked Marlborough to Gunjur in the Gambia for more than 30 years.

5 teams made it to the final which took place at The Platform in Swindon: – three from Hardenhuish, one from Lydiard Park Academy and one from Pewsey Vale, the school which produced last year’s winners. The students had all taken part in a Gambia workshop run by WGEC which focused on the need for small, environmentally-friendly businesses to be set up in the village. This is very much in accordance with the direction of MBG’s recent work which recognises the lack of employment opportunities in Gunjur and the possibility that this is resulting in young men being tempted to take the ‘back way’ to Europe.

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WGEC Gunjur teacher visit 2016

After 3 years of sifting through photos and personal accounts of trips (some going back 30 yrs), I finally get to see for myself what it is all about. It was surreal at times, visiting places I was already so familiar with, but it didn’t take long to feel genuinely welcome and at home in a place that has been in my psyche since childhood.

The first night was predictably a bit nerve racking, although the experienced host families took it all in their stride and the busy schedule for the week ahead does gear you towards just getting on with things. Toilets and food were the main topic of conversation on the first morning (and indeed for the rest of the week). We had a range of toilets from very basic to positively luxurious, I wonder if the Gunjur Link Committee (GLC) intuitively know who should be placed where in regards to personal challenges and development?

As a group, we paid our customary courtesy visits to the senior elders in the village, the Imam (head of Islam in the village), the Nyansimba (head of the women) and the Alikali, the mayor. The significance of these visits became very apparent to me later on in the week. It was a unique opportunity to listen to these highly important figure heads in the community and to ask questions. The Imam spoke very frankly about Islam and how it is perceived across the world today. I was touched by the respect shown to these elders by the entourage of young men who joined us that morning.

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MBG welcomes Karen Bulsara as their new Director

    karen low res

MBG are very pleased to welcome Karen Bulsara as our new part time paid Director, as of February 2016. Karen lives locally and is a governor at St John's in Marlborough. She has considerable understanding of international development, with wide ranging experience in working overseas as a consultant in that field. Most recently she has been helping to evaluate malaria programmes in Africa and Asia and has worked in Nigeria to promote private sector growth. Karen will join Caroline Harmer and the WGEC teacher study visit in Gunjur this February.

Karen says "I have been aware of MBG for some time and recognise the significant challenge ahead in securing its future after the departure of its incredibly dedicated and inspirational founder, Nick Maurice. I aim to meet with everyone involved with MBG in the coming weeks before putting together a strategy. I hope to maintain and grow the continued good work of MBG both at home in Marlborough and, of course, in Gunjur. I very much look forward to the challenge and trust that my marketing and international development experience will provide a solid foundation on which to take MBG forward into the future."

Nick Maurice's devotion to MBG has been tireless since its foundation 34 years ago, and will be maintaining his interest in the future of MBG. We will be celebrating Nick and his important contribution to MBG, the people of Marlborough, Gunjur & beyond and the field of international development later on this year.