29th March 2018
Some sponsors, I believe, think that what FoTGA does is straightforward, collecting money in the UK and handing out money to deserving Gambian students for their education. A simple matter of passing money from A to B.
If only it were so.
A sponsorship scheme, such as ours, is complicated to set up and run efficiently.
At the heart of our scheme is the fostering of a one-to-one relationship between the sponsor and the sponsored child and their family.
Sponsors do not just put money into one big fund which we dole out as we think fit.
FoTGA supports approximately 182 students and some teachers.
43 of our students have no sponsors.
Each term we receive 182 school reports. These are scrutinised and passed on to the sponsors with a commentary. If a child’s academic performance is good this is highlighted. If a child’s academic performance has fallen away, the cause is investigated, possible remedial action is proposed and put into action; this might include the involvement of the sponsor.
To do this we need well trained staff in our office in The Gambia and knowledgeable volunteer workers in the UK.
We have, in the past, struggled to recruit staff in The Gambia with the right qualifications and skills; this has meant more work for the UK volunteers.
However, it is by no means easy to carry out the normal recruitment procedure at a distance of 3,000 miles. It takes much more time and money than recruiting in the UK.
An advertisement was placed in the local press in July 2017; CVs were received and a short list prepared; shortlisted candidates were asked to submit a paper on the problems facing charities in The Gambia; five candidates were interviewed in January and one was offered the job.
So we now have a new manager in the office in Kotu. His name is Modou Camara. He has been in place since February and, although it is early days, he seems to be settling in well. He, Sulayman and Jariatou make up the team in the office now.
The photograph shows Modou and Violet a few days after he took over.