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The Vessel Gambia, December 2015

Programme Report 1

Our Team Poppy Tomlinson KORI administrator. English Development facilitator

Asafo Gyata Project Manager. Kazimba N’goma facilitator

Soraya Lee Clarke-Wills HR officer. English Development facilitator

Yoma Edgeworth KORI Programme Facilitator. Playwork facilitator

Carmelia Muldermans Erasmus Peer supervisor and Academic Researcher. Performance and Presentation facilitator

Laurie Fitzgerald The Vessel Administrator and Programme documenter

Femi Aiyebuse Mentoring Coordinator for Islington Council. Business Development facilitator 

Veronica Mason Senior Lecturer at London Metropolitan University. AYA Leadership Development facilitator

Sheila M. Maurice-Grey Master's student. Art Development facilitator 

Maya Ribeiro Cafe Manager. Playwork facilitator

Elijah Grant Full time student. African Drumming facilitator

Poppy Tomlinson KORI administrator. English Development facilitator

Andrew Aoyejola Business Manager. Business Development facilitator

Onome Edgeworth Programme Manager


Foreword & Contents

Contents Foreword
 Our Team
 Programme Planning 
 The Programme

Opening Ceremony

English Development

Business and Communication

Performance and Presentation

Martial Arts & Play Work


Art Farm Training
 Abuko Youth Association

Foreword The Vessel matches UK based skill and potential to African development needs. It is a programme run by London based youth development charity, KORI.

The Vessels third journey to Gambia took place in December 2015. This programme was supported by AYA (Abuko Youth Association), that was established with KORI in 2014. KORI supported the youth in the Abuko community create a youth association.

AYA now has 60 young members and an elected committee. They are actively working to empower themselves and their community.

Numbers and Facts
 Pilot Workshops


The Vessel’s Programmes English Development The English Development class focused on improving students speaking, reading and writing skills.
 Poppy and Soraya supported their group in forming their own ground rules for the session. They carried out an assessment of their group, to highlight what areas needed the most improvement. Also participants were each given a chapter from the book Holes, by Louis Sachar, to read throughout the programme.

Business & Communication

The group began with the phonetic alphabet, a tool that would enable them to improve their pronunciation and reading. They also studied rules, exceptions and tricks of the English Language. By mid week they wrote up their understanding of the chapter they had been reading and created a chronological chart of the narrative focusing on adjectives, nouns and verbs used . They also watched the film adaptation of Holes so they could compound what they had been reading. By the end of the week the class were able to write their own epilogue of the story using what they had learned to ensure it was grammatically correct. 

The Business and Communication workshop was focused on raising the level of communication and business skills amongst the group. It encouraged confidence in debating and shared the foundations of Business development and personal planning.

They began by building the trust in the group with icebreakers and establishing ground rules.Their model for the week was to focus each day on a different concept and from this focus teach a variety of skills and ways of thinking

Comments from the participants

“The program helped me, now I have improved my skills, I can now talk confidently to my colleagues with good English” 
 Mamut Sowe 

Over the week they explored:

Powerful communication - Verbal and nonverbal

 Leadership vs Management - Teamwork and ending ‘limiting beliefs’ 
 Financial skills - Building capital and generating profit. Financing your own business

“I have gained many new words that I did not know before” 
 Aime Marena 
 “Their teaching could not be improved, they are teaching me to be something tomorrow, to be smart and clever.” 
 Sidi Camara

African History - How African society helped build the modern world and how this learning can be used by young African entrepreneurs

The session was attended by a variety of participants, from secondary school pupils to degree level students, all were enthusiastic and continually inspired by this workshop.
 Comments from the participants

“I would have loved for the training to be extended to at least a month”
 Tity Carney “My favourite session was about the leadership skills and knowing the difference between managers and leaders. Also learning how maths started in Egypt”
 Jane Mansaray


Art Development Art Development focused on sharing formal artistic techniques including drawing from still life and portraiture. Additionally, over the sessions she explored the ways in which an artist can draw from both real life and the imagination in order to put forward an idea or statement about his or her life.

The still life exercises taught the artists about dimension and perspective, furthering their learning about how to represent things accurately. They also explored the use of different drawing materials and how they effect images.

The portraiture session built upon this by showing the ways you can utilise these techniques but also bring abstraction through colour or shape to represent your subject’s mood or personality. In many of the sessions Sheila participated in the activity and the group critique that took place at the end. The group critiques brought self and communal reflection to the artist’s process and help them to understand each other better as a collective.

Performance & Presentation Aimed at enabling youth to gain skills and confidence. This class taught peer mentorship and looked at performance and ways of presenting yourself and your ideas. The class explored verbal and nonverbal communication, focusing on how to effectively deliver your intended message and what helps, or prevents, these messages being received.

The artists had this to say about the sessions:

“I would like to see Sheila in the Gambia for more art sessions… to keep the momentum going”

“I’m improving a lot and gaining through this wonderful workshop… I think you should keep it up with this workshop you are giving us you are training and supporting the society”

They completed confidence building tasks and explored powerful body language. This then led them to different performance and language based exercises, including speech delivery, debating and improvisation tasks. Reflections and check in exercises were used regularly, enabling the group to gain an understanding of how important and useful they can be.

They were given methods for giving and receiving feedback constructively and building upon their strengths. They also looked at identifying their weaknesses and ways in which they can be overcome. The group had regular teamwork challenges, allowing them to implement and solidify their learning and presenting opportunities for regular evaluation.
 Comments from the participants

“ My favourite part of the session was being among the ones chosen for this training. As I believe one day I will join you to train people” 
 Seray Dainkeh This workshop was very interesting… I like the ways people are sharing knowledge to each other” 
 Mbemba Krubally “My favourite part was the presentation games because they helped me build up my confidence” 
 Isatou. A. Bah


Kazimba Kazimba is an African martial art form is an African/ Caribbean art form that combines martial arts techniques with African dance movements, syncopated rhythms, poetry & acrobatics. Every morning instructor Asafo Gyata trained A.Y.A Youth and committee members in the practices and values of this art form.

From the outset it was well received with the sessions extended to respond to its popularity. Numbers were good with a regular group of 8-10 coming every morning coming from 7:30 - 9:30; those who attended demonstrated strong commitment and passion for this learning.

Playwork Playwork was a loosely structured workshop focused on engaging the children in the community with games, books and learning through play. This was achieved with icebreaker games and a variety of craft activities like crown making or the decoration of the name tree (as seen on the cover).

A challenge that persisted however was the range of age groups in the sessions; many 7-10 year olds would also be looking after a baby or toddler sibling. This made some of the more complex activities like mask making and larger group games difficult to manage. To meet this challenge Yoma was assisted by Maya and organised several different levels of activities simultaneously to accommodate the variety of ages.

Drumming On a previous Vessel Journey Kori met with the art collective Art Farm who are a part of Sheila’s Art Development workshop. One of this collective was a blind man called Lamin. Lamin had been volunteering at a drumming event for some time and we saw this journey as an opportunity to build on his skills.

These sessions were facilitated by Elijah who whilst an experienced drummer himself had never facilitated a session like this before. He began by teaching them the mechanics of the djembe drum itself and the different sounds it could make. He then moved onto to demonstrating and teaching different kinds of rhythm using repetition to assist them in drumming successfully.

Additionally he taught them different ways to solo on top of a rhythm. The sessions were so informative and enjoyable that even the other members of ArtFarm joined.


The Closing Ceremony On Saturday classes began early so participants could have a full day of learning. It was the last day so there was a presentation at the end of the day. Live music from some of the facilitators introduced the event and the participants began to share their learning from the week. The English class told the story of their families by writing their family trees.

The presentation and performance class worked from an exercise they completed in the workshop, presenting confidently persuasive arguments for the value of their team. The business class split into groups and each presented an aspect of their learning along with their adopted slogan “Each one Teach one!� After each performance all participants were given a certificate, recognising their achievements; for many this was the first time they had ever received a certificate.


Feeding our Partner’s Projects In addition to the main programme The Vessel are dedicated to creating sustainable projects and continually outreach to build strong partnerships.

The Special Gambia Project The Methodist Special School is the only special needs school in The Gambia and it’s headteacher is the only qualified special needs teacher. Its was quickly understood that the culture surrounding special needs was very different from the UK and support was severely underdeveloped.

KORI has forged a partnership with SPA School, a school for Autistic students in London. With their support a number of changes were made possible in the Methodist Special school.

• 150 new chairs for the school and • repainting all of the classrooms • financially supported a Christmas party that KORI’s Vessel team and Volunteers facilitated for 150 pupils. Toujareng school In 2014 on the first Vessel journey to Gambia KORI partnered with the Marcus Garvey Foundation who connected us with a school in Toujareng. This year facilitators Andrew and Femi delivered a short introduction to business programme with a group of 32 students. It focused on the skills needed and aimed to inspire students to develop an enthusiasm for business.

This party was to benefit the children of the school but also to celebrate this blooming London partnership. In the school courtyard Vessel team members set up face painting and bracelet making, arts and crafts - run by the Artists of ArtFarm music performances and free running games. As the part slowed down all 150 children were given a meal and can of soft drink.

The class were also given communication development and an introduction to reflection and peer evaluation techniques. The session ended with an exercise where groups were given a different communication roles (e.g a tourism minister advertising Gambia or a Headteacher recruiting for a new school). Each performed a speech and was given peer critiques. One student said “it was kinda difficult” but “educating and taught us things we know but are not practising”. The Vessel will continue to work with Toujering School on future visits.


Other Programmes The Vessel also delivers some long term programmes that work year round. These provide additional support the communities we work in.

The Grace Fund The Grace fund is is a charitable fund been set up in honour of Grace Ighamre (1939-2012). This is to provide seed funding to identified creative and social entrepreneurs within host countries to start and grow projects and enterprises.

On this journey we received Funding from the London Metropolitan University and reconnected with several groups that have flourished due to this amazing fund.

This funding supported programme expenses and education and training sponsorships for six young people from Abuko Youth Association.

The Women’s Group Supported by KORI The Women’s Group are a group of 16 Women from Abuko who are working with tabletop banking investment model. In this model a small external investment is given on the condition that before any more money is received the original amount must be doubled. During the course of our programme the Women had accomplished four rounds of this model and were entering into round five.

For this round they had set up a small soap business in which they costed and bought materials and began the four day process of making soap to sell. By putting anti bacterial liquid they had also created a soap that would greatly benefit their community.

As stated they received certificates on the last day of the programme recognising their achievement and encouraging them to keep going.


Reflections from The UK PARTICIPANTS “As a person I feel that I’ve gained a much deeper understanding of life and how we choose to live it. It was inspiring top see the incredibly hard work that the people on our programme, A.YA and my peers in the Vessel. All people that want to learn, better themselves, help others and give love. This journey has massively developed my abilities of self reflection and sharing. My field is international relations and global development and this journey has really helped me to see first hand the effects of colonialism on a nation. I would most definitely recommend this journey to anyone I love it is an eye, heart and soul opener and I only hope I have given enough in this programme to help the participants in the long term.” - Soraya “I have gained some more peace within myself. Being part of a dedicated hard working team has given me some much needed hope for humanity. This journey has highlighted some improvements I need to make in the way that I work and deal with some situations. It has also given me more knowledge and different perspective on how I approach assignments. Of course I would recommend this journey I believe it is necessary for the majority of people I have felt myself and seen others grow in this short time.” - Poppy “I feel that the experience has helped me become a little bit of a leader and more of an upfront and more confidant person over all.”- Elijah “The experience has helped develop my confidence with presentation and working with larger groups and taken my working knowledge of peer-learning and group work out of the London arena, developed it further to take back to London and to other countries.I am pursuing research in Tanzania and Madagascar this year and will use the lessons learned on this opportunity to inform my approach with young people in their respective communities.In the future, I hope to return to continue my research in the Gambia, investigating the nature of communication between participants, volunteers and staff in youth work, perhaps with the same young people in a peer learning capacity.” - Camelia

“This experience has reminded me about the great potential that all young people have and the reason why youth work and such educational programmes like this are of such value. It has also reminded me of why I got involved in youth work in the first place and the fired up motivation I had to be involved in positive change. The Vessel programme does not just represent charity work; it represents much more than this in the context of educational exchange and development for the benefits of all parties involves. We all have something significant to learn from each other but need a foundation to build upon by way of positive action to create shared practices which could be replicated in other countries. I think the this Kori programme has the potential to provide a blueprint for this and I, for one, found my participation in this programme invaluable and will continue to support its development in any way that I can.” - Veronica “I came to Gambia with an open mind and have gained better self reflection and have built on my network within the arts and music communities. It has shown me how important it is to be practising as an artist in order to be relevant and relatable to the participants. This is a great opportunity for new experiences.” - Sheila

Numbers On this project the 14 strong Vessel team worked with 294 people

73 in the main programme

8 in our training programme

15 extra participants in the satellite programmes

198 people in our partner projects


We would like to thank those who continue to make our work in the Gambia possible:

The Vessel Team
 Abuko Youth Association
 Yong Voices for the Environment
 Toujering Art Village 
 Toujering School
 The Marcus Garvey Foundation
 Methodist Special School
 Spa School 
 Art farm artist collective
 All the participants
 Abuko Womens Group

And the wonderful people of the Abuko community


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