By Lamin FATTY
Tostan Gambia, an International NGO based and operating in URR since 2007 has presented COVID-19 Community Resilience support materials, Kits, Booklets and Brochures to the Technical Advisory Committee, Regional Health Management Directorate through the Governor of URR, Madam Fanta B.S. Manneh at a ceremony held at the Governor’s Bantaba in Basse on the 24th of June 2020.
The presented items include Bleach, Dettol Soap and Liquid, Face Masks, Hand sanitizers and also Booklets on general information on COVID-19 and Brochures on the Islamic Perspective on pandemics.
Speaking at the presentation, the National Coordinator of Tostan Gambia, Mr. Edrisa keita said that the presentation is in line with Tostan’s 3 months COVID-19 contingency plan to support the partner communities in URR, but also the regional partners such as TAC and Regional Health Management team. He said that Tostan empowers communities in the areas of human Rights, education, health and hygiene, environment and economic development through the use of national languages.
“In Tostan programme modules, there is health and hygiene component that is in line with health prevention that greatly help communities to prevent themselves from communicable diseases such as COVID-19. That is exactly what we are reinforcing during this period,” Tostan National Cordinator said.
Mr. keita further stressed the importance of partnership and collaboration during these trying times for sectors and most importantly communities to take all preventive measures as laid down by WHO and health authorities. He added that the booklets and brochures were developed because Tostan is good at that aspect in having relevant and accurate information in the National Languages of partner communities so that they can read and fully understand the information and messages on key issues that affects their lives and livelihood.
This is the reason, he said Tostan International Office in Dakar through Madam Molly Melching, the Founder and creative director worked very hard with National Coordinators, programme team in Dakar office, health authorities, Governor’s office, and religious scholars to develop these booklets and brochures in the national languages of partner communities and countries such as The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and Mali.
“These booklets and brochures are written in English, French, Portuguese, Creole, Mandinka, Fula, Wolof, Bambara, and other national Languages in these various countries,” he said.
Mr. Keita went on to say that the detergents, kits and books distributed in Tostan partner communities in URR was to support the regional partners. He also said the reading materials are shared online and email with many government institutions and sectors in The Gambia through Tostan CEO based in Dakar office, Senegal. He thanked the office of the Governor, Regional Health Team, Religious leaders, Staff for their hard work in sensitising communities to prevent themselves from COVID-19 and communities in putting into practice what they are learning from partners.
“I urged you all to make the best use of these books and brochures and detergents,” he concluded.
The Governor of URR, Madam Fanta B.S. Manneh thanked Tostan for this great initiative in providing Booklets and brochures in the national languages of people and communities here in the Gambia to make reading and understanding easy for them.
Madam Manneh also commended Tostan as the only NGO that have produce such booklets and brochures in the languages spoken by the communities to have a better understanding of all issues about COVID 19. She talked about the preventive methods as well as resilience support materials and kits. She urged the community members, TAC and Regional Health Team to make the best use of the materials and books.
Governor Manneh, finally assured Tostan of the support of her office and the Gambia Government as an NGO complementing the development efforts of the Government.
Other speakers at the presentation ceremony were, Mr. Alhagie Jawara, CDO and secretary to TAC, Mr. Sainey Kanuteh, Ward Councilor for Basse and Mr. Kewo, Principal Public Health Officer from the Regional Health Management Directorate, URR.
The ceremony was attended by the members of the Technical Advisory Committee of URR and the Media.