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|Topic: Request for Project Support|
Joined: 29 May 2012
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| Topic: Request for Project Support
Posted: 29 May 2012 at 6:10pm
AL-MADINAH FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION AND RELIEF IN THE GAMBIA
Over the past fifteen years, many new Charitable and None-Governmental Organizations are emanating from able Gambians themselves who may in one way or the other worked for various institutions, government bodies or they may have travel abroad where they gathered experiences and are willing to make marks in the country’s development history, by contributing their quota in the interest of nation building. Among such new aspiring development oriented organizations is Al-Madinah Foundation. This foundation is the brain child of some few Gambians who where one time chanced to per sue their Higher Arabic/Islamic education in Al-Madinatu-L-Munawarah, after which, they are now back in the Gambia to join others in and outside this country to help in the realization of the development aspirations of this country, the Gambia.
The foundation was officially registered with the Attorney Generals Chamber as a Charitable Community Based Organization on the 28th. Day of December 2005. Since then, the foundation leaves no stone unturned to help the education sector and other relief programmes. The foundation is well recognized by the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council, The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education through it department responsible for Arabic and Islamic Education in the Gambia and all other relevant authorities concerned. The foundation wish to establish its own head quarters where they could be carrying out all the activities of the organization, which includes among other things advocacy, the education and relief supports to the needy and deserving within the communities.
The idea of establishing Al-Madinah Foundation was conceived of by group of young energetic Gambians who upon their completions of their degree programmes in the holy city of Almadinah in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, returned home with the zeal of helping to contribute their individual and collective quota in the development arena of this country by chosen basic government priority areas of intervention and collaborate with potential partners around the globe to mitigate the most urgent needs of the communities they live in. Legally, the organization was registered and recognized by all relevant authorities in the country and since then, it has been playing pivotal roles in the promotion and management of seven Arabic/Islamic schools in the country, conducting Islamic propagation in the form of a convoy, touring more than one hundred and twenty (120) villages of the Gambian provinces, which has resulted to more than twenty five none Muslims to accept and converted to Islam.
The foundation also embarked upon organizing study programmes for youths, imams and women, to enhance them learn about their religion and for them to be able to actively take part in all Islamic activities and its propagations within the country. Leaflets and small literatures on Islam were also distributed within the length and breath of this country, courtesy of the Foundation Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and African Muslim Agency, Gambia office. As part of its advocacy programmes, two weekly radio programmes on the topics; ‘Islamic Cooperation in Work of Charities’ and ‘Islamic Forum’ at Hilltop FM radio on Mondays and at FMB on Fridays respectively are aired. Lectures are also organized on various topics and issues relevant to region and developments, such as; the dangers of drugs and terrorize actions, co-existence of Muslims and none Muslims in the Gambia and also visiting the sick at the hospitals.
The foundation has also embarked upon some form of humanitarian assistances to the most deserving and needy people within the communities. Among such good will gesture is the sponsoring of more than twenty five(25) poor families, fifty ( 50) orphans, and ten (10) families during their fire accidents, drilling five (5) water wells for different communities. During feasts such as the Idul-Adha, two hundred (200) heads of sheep were distributed to the poor and needy, while in the holy month of fasting; five hundred (500) packages of if tar (meals for breaking fast) were given to the poor, not forgetting to help the widows and disables. The foundation in its striving has set it self the following dreams to be achieve in the course of time:
To reveal the good will nature of Islam to all corners of the Gambia and beyond.
To collaborate with potential partners and use acceptable Islamic principles to helped in the development of the Gambia and beyond.
To improved the living standard of all Gambians without discrimination.
1. To build the foundation’s head quarters, which will house a resource and educational center for the various activities of the foundation before end 2017.
2. To increase our provisions of humanitarian services such as school fees, if tar, water wells, helping widows, orphans and poor families to ten percent (10%) within the next five years.
3. To operationalized five regional offices for the regional activities of the foundation and continue on the advocacy in a bid to sell our works before end 2017.
Decades of drought leading to low and uneven rainfall distribution has caused a sharp declined in agricultural production with a corresponding drop in rural income levels over the past three decades. Agriculture is the main source of employment and food supply for the rural population; 86.4% of rural women are subsistence farmers. The decline in production particularly groundnut, the main cash crop, has both social and economic consequences for the country. Specifically, this decline has had serious negative consequences on rural household incomes; thus, inhibiting their ability to pay for the cost of social services such as health and education user fees. In the recent past, the decline in production has also resulted in an acceleration of rural – urban migration, and an increase in the incidence of poverty that has also adversely affected the national food security as well as the status of nutrition.
The population of the Gambia, 96% of which is Muslims and the remaining mostly Christians, 15% comprised of a number of ethnic groups. Culturally, the Gambia is a paternalistic, male – dominated society, where women have little decision – making power. Women are value for their fertility and it is generally accepted by both men and women that the socio – economic status of women is inferior to that of men. Traditional beliefs and customs are very strong, especially in the rural areas, and male – child preference leads couples to continue having children in a attempt to fulfill their desire to have sons for inheritance purposes.
According to the 1993 population census, The Gambia’s population was estimated at 1,038,145 with an annual growth rate of 4.2% between 1963 and 1983, the population doubled. If the percent growth rate remains unchanged, the population will double in 16.5 years time. The light population growth rate can be attributed largely to high fertility rates, a decline in morality and high levels of migration.
The Gambia has a youthful population with 50.4% of its, population under age 18years.only 3.2% of the population were 65years and above in the 1993 census. This gives rises to a very high dependency ration, as almost half of the population has to work to support the other half. Large number of children is still highly valued by most women in the Gambia, particularly in the rural areas.
The movement of population is mainly due to a search for employment and disillusionment with the poor prospects of economically viable agriculture. The rural – urban and international migration pressure created heavier demands on social services such as schools, health services, water and electricity supply, as well as the capacity of town and sub – urban Center’s to manage sanitation and waste disposal. The inability to adequately meet these needs has resulted in the spread of sub – urban, shanty towns with inadequate water supply, pool sanitation and disease outbreak.
In the past, the river Gambia was extensively used as a means of transportation. However, this made of transportation has ceased despite its potentials as an alternative means of transportation. There is only one mail tarmac road some 480 kilometer long that runs through the South bank of the country. However, the government constructed another 48 kilometer tarmac road with a bridge on the North Bank. All other roads in rural areas are latrines roads. Some of these roads become impassable during the rainy season, thus, creating problems of accessibility and distribution of products and merchandise for the greater part of the country. In addition, outreach clinics for antenatal care and vaccinations for children are cancelled during the rains. Under normal circumstances, patient evacuation by road, particularly for high – risk pregnant women and sick children, is very difficult. This situation worsens during the rainy season.
The main features of the Gambia’s economy are its small size, its narrow economic base its heavy reliance on agriculture and on a limited number of cash crops, mainly groundnuts. Consequently the economy is quite vulnerable to the vagaries of the climate and to the price changes in international markets for this produce.
Nearly 60% of arable land is used for agriculture cultivation. This crops accounts for 75% of domestic exports. Agriculture is the mainstay, of the economy, with more than 70% of the population engaged in farming, including livestock rearing and groundnut cultivation. However, agriculture productivity has declined over the years as a result of drought, poor agricultural practices and low producer price. The agriculture base is narrowly diversified. One important sector is the fisheries. The Gambia has a shallow continental shelf of 3,855 square kilometers and is considered to be an important fishing zone. Artisan fishery, both at the Atlantic coast and in land is estimated to employ as many as 20,000nationals. The fisheries sector has become an important foreign exchange earner with export earnings estimated at US$ 2, million annually. Currently, the fisheries industry is threatened by coastal erosion particularly in the fish landing sites of Brufut, Tanji, Tujereng, Sanyang, Gunjur and Kartong. The infrastructures of these sites are affected by increased marine erosion due to sand mining along the coast.
The industrial sector is very small and accounts for less than 8% of the GDP. Manufacturing activities are limited to light industries such as groundnut milling, bread baking, brewing food processing and the production of bricks, soaps and plastics. These sectors provide employment for less than 3% of the Coventry’s labor force.
Tourism has become an important source of income for the Gambia. In 1990 to 1991 the government collected about D48 million (US$ 5.3 million) in direct and indirect taxes from tourism investment in hotels along the coast. There are 15 modern hotels and a number of them face serious beach erosion. In some hotels like the Palm Grove and Tropic Gardens, the beach has already disappeared. Remedial engineering work in an attempt to arrest and rehabilitate coastal, erosion has recently been undertaken by the Government Tourism and commerce provide employment for more than 2 percent of the labor forces on a seasonal basis.
The activities in commerce depend heavily on the re-export of goods to the neighboring Senegal and other West African countries. The re-export trade’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined in the recent past and is vulnerable to the economic policies of the neighboring countries. The devaluation of the currency of the French speaking West African countries in 1994 and the close of the Gambia – Senegal border have affected the re-export trade severely and by extension, the economic activity and livelihood of many Gambians, especially in the informal sector.
Despite the achievements on the Marco – economic from the Gambia still rank low in its social indicators. At present, the country is among the least developed, ranking 165 out 185 countries in the Human Development Report of 1997 with an estimated per capita income of US%320. life expectancy was estimated at 55 years, infant maternal mortality were high of 84%100 and 150% 100,000 live births respectively forty percent of the population was below the food poverty line According to an ILO study (see Ahmed at al. 1992) illiteracy remained high of 75%. The negative impact of the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) was greatest on the poorer section of the population. The health and education sector were more vulnerable to the structural changes as shown by the following:
ü Levels of utilization of health services fell in the immediate wake of the introduction of the user charges in 1989.
ü Purchase of Educational resources becomes less affordable.
ü The removal of subsidies on agricultural products and fertilizers adversely affected the quantity of crops produced (food crops in particular). This led to reduced food availability and price increases in staple foods; and,
ü Reduction in numbers of the work forces affected many poor homes, as the only breadwinner in a family no longer has the capacity to earn a living.
In addition to consolidate the gains of the economic reforms started under the ERP and to reverse the decline in the quality of the social services, the Gambia Government affected the programme for sustainable Development. One of the key element of this programme is sustainable development, that is, economic management that ensures improved standard of living, financial policies that will not burden future generations, including the environment, and equitable distribution of the gains from economic and landscaping development with a human face’. This programme for Sustainable Development (PSD) also emphasizes a private sector led growth. It is evident that PSD was designed to encourage private enterprise development through second economic policies which is why NGO, CBO and private individuals are taken active part in the development process (situational analysis of children and women 1998).
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