08 Feb Golf project with CSR to help students study at night cancelled
By Cherno Omar Bobb
In April 2023, at the side lines of the International Golf Conference held at St Andrews, Scotland, Mr. Ebrima Jawara, President of Gambia Golf Association (GGA) and Mr. Ram Mohan, GGA Honourary Life Member and Proprietor of ComAfrique, held discussions with officials of the World Governing Body for Golf – The R&A, on a possible golf project in The Gambia, that would also give back to the community.
According to Mr Jawara, the project as envisaged, was to be implemented by the Fajara Club on behalf of and in conjunction with the GGA and ComAfrique, under the aegis of The R&A. The project called Night Driving Range with Social Responsibility, was to set up a night driving range at the Sir Dawda Jawara Golf Course (currently the only golf course in The Gambia), with a social responsibility component, that would provide safe lighting for underprivileged school children, create employment for the youth, as well as provide recreational activities for golfers and non-golfers alike.
Following discussions with Fajara Club, which hosts the Sir Dawda Jawara Golf Course, a detailed project proposal was submitted to The R&A for possible funding.
“Being impressed with the project proposal, in September 2023, The R&A approved a grant of GBP15,000 (Fifteen thousand pounds) for GGA, towards the cost of the project. In October 2023, the GGA wrote to the Fajara Club, seeking to take the project to the next level. However, despite numerous verbal assurances that the club was interested in the project, they failed to formally respond to GGA`s letter.” Added Mr Jawara
According to Mr. Jawara, it became apparent to the GGA that one or two seemingly influential members of the club, did not wish to see the project implemented, and it would be better to have the funds returned to The R&A and used elsewhere in Africa.
“Indeed, there has been a systematic attack by a cabal at the Fajara Club, against the GGA, including the unjustified banning from the club of a GGA Committee Member and long-time member of Fajara Club based on personal issues with a member of the cabal, plans to shut down the GGA Golf Academy which is mainly for Gambian children and youth, and eventually for the Fajara Club to dissociate itself from GGA and become what can only be described as a colonial enclave in The Gambia”. Said Mr. Jawara.
On 8 February 2024, The GGA wrote to The R&A informing them that the project had been cancelled due to the non-responsiveness of the Fajara Club, whose involvement is a prerequisite for its implementation.
In response to the GGA`s cancelling of the project, Mr Kevin Barker, Director of Golf Development – GB & I and Africa, expressed the disappointment of The R&A not only from the perspective of all the work that the GGA had put into the project, but more importantly because it is such a good project with some really positive potential outcomes for golf and the community. He added that The R&A is very much open to an alternative proposal from GGA and looked forward to receiving one before May 2024.
The GGA said it will come up with a new proposal that would target the youth, has a key social responsibility aspect, and is more tangible to implement.