Wonder Years Centre of Excellence (NGO A78) WYCE in Brief
Birth, Scope and Achievement 2003-2010 Second Edition 2010
This text is the second edition prepared by the WYCE Gambia office. As the title implies, it is a brief resume of WYCE from conception to implementation with the aim of providing basic information on WYCE for those who wish to know more about the work the Civil Society Organisation is doing in The Gambia from 2003-2010. It will be subjected to a periodical review to update the content as implementation progresses.
1. Introduction 2. The Birth of WYCE 3. The Vision 4. Mission Statement 5. Aims and Objectives 6. The Scope of the Project 7. Sources of Funding 8. Management Structures and Functions 9. Target Beneficiaries 10. Implementation Strategy 11. Achievements 12. WYCE Impact on the Community 13. Implementation Constraints 14. The Way Forward 15. Request for Support 16. Conclusions
1. Introduction It is generally accepted that in every meaningful and sustainable development initiative, simple, realistic and clearly defined aims and objectives are obvious preconditions in the realisation of planned activities. WYCE IN BRIEF is not an annual report. It is simply a brief resume of all that WYCE stands for as a civil society organisation in the U.K., U.S.A. and The Gambia for those who wish to show interest in its primary concern in the general welfare of the underprivileged communities in The Gambia. 2. The Birth of WYCE In the year 1993, a British couple in the persons of Mr Keith and Mrs Hilary Walker came to The Gambia in search of a peaceful atmosphere under which they could enjoy the start of their matrimonial life. The couple did not regret their choice of destination, when they found themselves at the African Village Hotel in the coastal town known as Bakau, in the peaceful republic of The Gambia. After much relaxation amid the peaceful and friendly atmosphere, the couple decided to venture out of the formalities of the hotel environment to see and explore a little more of beautiful Gambia as being narrated in history books and the most recent visitors. To their surprise at the hotel entrance the couple were received by a group of smiling, friendly children shouting simultaneously “tubab, tubab any sweets, any pen” meaning “white man, white man, any sweets, any pen”. Each of the children was expecting in delight to receive sweets, pens or any other small gifts that would do as an alternative. The outcome of this emotional encounter between the couple and the children gave birth to the long conceived dream the couple had in the U.K. i.e. „making a difference in the lives of the underprivileged in poor communities‟. As they chatted with the children, they knew that these children actually needed some form of assistance capable of sustaining their livelihood in the future and not sweets they could munch in a moment or pens they could hardly use, toys and assortments of trivial items that would only bring momentary joy and pleasure. The urgent concern the couple always had in the welfare of the less privileged families, particularly children, led to the formation of WYCE, to be created and established to work in The Gambia. This urgent concern further prompted the formation of WYCE as a U.K. Registered Charity No. 1089167 and a Gambia Registered Non-Governmental Organisation A78 in June 2003 with A.G.‟s Chambers and the N.G.O. Affairs Agency. As a precondition for registration, WYCE also completed and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) with the Department of State for Education (DOSE) and the Department of State for Health and Social Welfare (DOSHSW) as lined Departments of State with which WYCE‟s activities are related. In 2010 WYCE‟s reach was expanded with the opening of the WYCE-USA office. 3. The Vision Education is generally regarded as the key to providing a better future for the people of The Gambia, particularly the less privileged communities. WYCE envisages the development of The Gambia by 2015, when the millennium development goal in Education For All (E.F.A.) would have been achieved with its modest participation in building high quality schools, health and skill centres which will offer children and adults of The Gambia good standards of education, health and skill to bring them in line with many other parts of the world.
School Vision WYCE aims to provide a quality school through staff training, parent support and participation where every child gets an equal opportunity to learn academic skills, social skills, health education and an understanding of environmental tree planting and gardening activities so that they attain security of food and life development skills. 4. Mission Statement WYCE has committed itself to supplement and compliment the efforts of the Government of the Republic of The Gambia in the provision of excellent gainful educational opportunities, primary healthcare, life skills and employment facilities for the underprivileged communities to earn a sustainable decent standard of living in The Gambia. School Mission WYCE Schoolâ€&#x;s mission is to educate Early Years and Primary children so that they are able to grow up with skills and abilities to develop as individuals, support and participate in the development of their community. 5. Aims and Objectives To develop a system of schooling, where every child gets an equal opportunity to education To provide local employment opportunities To improve training opportunities for the local people To develop primary healthcare facilities for the less privileged communities To develop the skills of teenagers through skills centres To make The Gambia a wealthier and healthier place for everyone 6. The Scope of the Project WYCE short, medium and long term plans intend to narrow down its scope on education and health as two important social services. It, therefore, sets itself the challenging task of providing excellent educational opportunities for local communities to earn a decent livelihood. 7. Sources of Funding WYCEâ€&#x;s primary source of funding comes through irregular donations from potential donors mainly from Europe, the UK in particular. Prominent among the category of donors are volunteers who, besides their practical participation in the implementation process, donate substantial amounts of money towards the running costs of the project. Other sources include small grants from civil society organisations and through the sales of produce from income generating ventures such as Bee Farming, tree nursery scheme, vegetable gardening and an annual tree planting ceremony. 8. Management Structure WYCE as a UK based Charity and a Gambia Registered NGO originally had the UK Trustee Board and the Gambian Board of Directors as the top administrative bodies responsible for the management of the organisation. The two bodies operated on bilateral principles for reasons of physical distance and difference in government process at the Project level. As a huge leap forward in the development of WYCE Gambia, management of WYCE Gambia activities was handed over to the Gambian Management team in August 2008. Although long-term strategies and financial oversight is still handled by the UK Trustee Board, the beneficiaries in The Gambia are now actively involved in their own development by taking a leadership role in the management and decision making within WYCE.
The UK Trustee Board, the Gambian Board of Directors and the newly formed US Trustee Board now work together in partnership with the Gambian Management team to achieve the goals of WYCE in the first project village of Madina Salaam, in Kombo South, Western Region. Board of Directors - The Gambia Include:National Chairman/Country Director Country Director (Designate) General Manager Education Co-ordinator Primary Health Care Co-ordinator V.D.C. Chairman Secretary Both Founders of WYCE The rest of the members are representatives of the beneficiaries and specialists in the fields of education and health which are responsible for the provision of such social services WYCE is engaged in the Republic of The Gambia. Functions The primary function of the National Board of Directors is to direct, oversee and monitor the implementation process of the NGO to ascertain the judicious utilisation of the resources in the interest of the target beneficiaries, whose general welfare the organisation has committed to its charge. The Board also safeguards the interest of all the development partners i.e. government, beneficiaries, WYCE and potential donors whose continuous valuable contribution goes to sustain the implementation process. Preparation of reports to update the information of UK Trustee Board and the Government of The Gambia through the lined Departments of State i.e. education, health and the NGO Affairs Agency also falls to the Boards responsibility. WYCE Management Structure - The Gambia Include:National Chairman/Country Director Country Director (Designate) General Manager Income Generating Co-ordinator Education Co-ordinator Primary Health Care Co-ordinator Catering Manager Bookkeeper Lodge Manager
The Country Director based in The Gambia, directs the judicious utilisation of the resources and the implementation process on daily basis. Under the direction of the Country Director, the Administrative Staff send, retrieve and deal with e-mail correspondence to and from Europe and the U.S.A. The CD is responsible for the general administration of the WYCE Project in Madina Salaam, at a community level. The office of the CD is responsible for overseeing staff matters, including general welfare, discipline, job descriptions and employment contracts, training, code of conduct and safety at work.
The General Manager coordinates the activities of the Managers and their teams in the implementation process. His primary functions include timely provision of the basic development needs of the managers to facilitate their work, including the purchase and supply of all the items needed to facilitate the implementation of the Project. As part of his responsibilities, the GM oversees the other Managers under which the rest of the Staff operates to ensure the proper running of all area of the Project. He receives periodical reports from each manager to form part of his monthly report to be presented to the Country Director, Board of Directors and the UK Trustee Board. The Bookkeeper as the name implies keeps the accounts books, including the daily disbursement of funds to enhance the execution of all planned activities and services. He is also responsible for payment of salaries, allowances, deductions and payment of SSHFC contributions and Income Tax liabilities. He is the custodian of all funds at the Project level and is responsible for the execution of all monetary transactions in The Gambia, including providing funds to all unit heads for the purchase of items approved to facilitate Project implementation. The Lodge, Education, Health, and Income Generating Activities form the broader Management band under which the rest of the general Staff operate. The daily implementation process falls under the purview of these managers and the team of Staff for which they are responsible. They provide the basic needs of the general Staff, to facilitate the work on the ground on a daily basis. They are responsible for the Staff under them and are answerable to the General Manager. Trustee Boards – UK and U.S.A. The composition of the UK and U.S.A. Trustee Boards are the same and include: Co-founders Chairperson Vice Chairperson Secretary Treasurer Team Managers responsible for working committees concentrating on :Skills, Health, Education, Publicity/Fundraising, Administration, I T and resource mobilisation are also an integral part of the Board. Functions The Trustee Board is the custodian of the Charity Commission‟s Laws and policy frameworks under which charitable organisations are registered. It mobilises and manages financial resources of WYCE. It directs and administers the operation of the project in due consultation with its partners i.e. the Gambian Management Team, Gambian Board of Directors and US/UK Trustee Board on major issues on a regular basis. The recruitment of volunteers, contacts and arrangements for foreign visitors also fall under the purview of the trustees. The year‟s operation of this body culminates in an AGM in partial fulfilment of the Board‟s mandatory obligation to the UK and The Gambia governments respectively.
9. Target Beneficiaries WYCEâ€&#x;s target beneficiaries are the less privileged communities in The Gambia in general. Project implementation started in 2003 at Madina Salaam in Kombo South, Western Region. This unique community founded in 1987 mainly by economic migrants, victims of ethnic and political conflicts from the sister republic of Guinea Bissau and the southern region of Senegal. The population of 1379 (as recorded in WYCEâ€&#x;s Census of 2008) consists of four main ethnic groups i.e. Mandinka, Fula, Wolof and Balanta, more than 50% of which are children 16 years or younger, according to WYCEâ€&#x;s 2008 Village Census. 10. Implementation Strategy It is a fact that in any sustainable community development initiative, the beneficiaries must be active participants from decision-making to implementation. It is for this reason that WYCE never regarded itself as the indefatigable resource provider but rather a genuine, concerned partner in development with the community of The Gambia. The implementation strategy from the beginning has been based on popular participatory approach (PPA). The active surrogate arms of the PPA are obviously the spirit of voluntarism, simple research, study and continuous publicity through sensitisation. These components consisted of subprojects and programmes such as workshops, training, seminars, surveys, networking, monitoring, evaluation, meetings, continuous assessment and reporting with the aim of achieving the desired objectives initially set. 11. Achievements Completion of a borehole for use of the project and parts of the community Construction of a six-room building incorporating a health clinic and an Early Childhood Centre and Lower Basic School Information Centre for village meetings, a library, video shows, adult education, sewing and knitting lessons for women and other social activities Establishment of a daily clinic and referral services for the sick and the suffering at no cost to the patients The introduction of a purposely designed ambulance from the UK for referrals from WYCE clinic at Madina Salaam Catering for most of the village labour cases with the support of the B.I. scheme at village level Construction and furnishing of two large Early Childhood Centre buildings Providing education for 250 children in four Early Childhood classes and four Lower Basic classes at the moment (2010) Developing a quality sports centre for Madina Salaam in particular and Kombo South in general Providing employment opportunities for approximately 47 Gambians most of whom are indigenous of Madina Salaam Developing a Bee Farm as a training school for the people of Madina Salaam and an income-generating activity for the Project Organising bee keeping training and facilities for locals as income generating activities Constructed a site for staff houses to house skilled staff needed to enhance and sustain the high standard developed within our Project Constructed lodge houses to provide basic accommodation facilities for volunteers who regularly work for the project by sharing their wealth of skills, knowledge and professional experiences with the Staff and people of Madina Salaam Organising Annual Tree Planting ceremonies, targeting a minimum of 5,000 economic trees in the locality to rejuvenate the depleted ecosystem.
Establish a tree nursery to provide adequate seedlings to replenish the depleted ecosystem Providing a six classroom building, including office space and furniture for staff and students for the out of school youths in the local „madarasa‟ ie Arabic school Donated mobile phones, bicycles and fifty chairs to the V.D.C. The chairs could be rented to generate income Employing village skill workers in developing project infrastructure Sending regular containers already to the tune of GMD 600,000 (£12,000) containing project items and second-hand clothing for the community Providing sewing machines and training to establish a women‟s co-operative sewing centre for village women as an income generating activity Initiated a 3-year multi-village Malaria Prevention Project to reduce the effects of this disease in the community Keeping accurate Birth and Death records in the Village Establishment of medical files for all children in the school Conducting a bi-annual Village Census to provide data on the village population and give people a sense of community and identity Daily temperature recording for the community to track weather patterns and healthrelated effects Completion of an MOU with the Department of State for Health and Social Welfare and the Department of State for Education Registration of the Early Years Centre Development of Mother and Baby Classes to facilitate pre-nursery and Baby Health activities Programme of Seminars, Workshops and Visits on Health Topics i.e., Nutrition, Basic Methods of Preserving Local Foods, HIV/Aids, Malaria, Reproductive Health etc 12. WYCE Impact on the Community Sanitary conditions of the community much improved as good waste management practices were adopted and pig pens kept away from residential areas Personal health and hygiene practices developed, as evidence of this could be seen in the physical appearance and attitude of children, particularly those in school Health status of the people, particularly the children, is much improved The prevalence of both infant and maternal mortality rates was much reduced as the general health status and nutrition of mother and babies improved Number of children travelling to other satellite villages in the neighbourhood to access elementary education is much reduced Formal quality Western Education System established Community awareness of national and international affairs increased The appearance, moral and the decency standard of the people improved with the help of the second hand clothing donated through WYCE The work of the village doctor and the traditional birth attendants was much facilitated as babies could be delivered safely at the Project Health Centre The hassling of foreigners, particularly white visitors, to request money, other trivial items or befriend them is eradicated Community contact and awareness with the rest of the world improved The degree of selflessness, confidence and intense patriotism needed for effective participation in community development strengthened General interest, enthusiasm in sports development, particularly football, developed i.e. the establishments of facilities and video shows to feature international competitions established Portable and clean domestic water supply accessible to the community at WYCE Lodge and for children attending school
Facilities to recharge cell phone batteries enhanced communication Accurate recording of demographic data for planning purposes established Reliable village maps drawn and current population census figures available Accurate daily temperature recordings for the area continued Negative attitude toward the ecosystem changed Sanitary facilities improved the hygienic conditions of the Health Centre Regular movement of referrals to and from major health centres provided by WYCE Skills Centres established for training in marketable skills 13. Implementation Constraints Cumbersome bureaucracy in government‟s mode of operation, particularly their frequent changes in departments and procedures. Lack of defined and reliable guide lines for consulting government departments. Restrictive social status of women and girls. Lack of education in women and girls. Lack of confidence in conventional medicine as a cure for certain precarious ailments. Resistance from men in the community to attend training and educational workshops and meetings. Very low literacy rate in Western education, particularly among the elderly women and girls. Lack of adequate and safe domestic water supply. Lack of adequate funds delivered on time to maintain the tempo of Project Implementation. Inadequate Staff training facilities. Poor access roads to Project site to transport construction items, particularly during certain times of the year. Lack of adequate and sustainable storage facilities for construction items on Project site. Unstable market prices and frequent shortages of certain construction items during certain times of the year. Lack of proper architectural design and accurate costing for buildings. Lack of adequate and proper tools required for Project implementation. Loss of valuable time through unplanned Public Holidays.
14. The Way Forward Plans for 2011 and beyond are already mapped out for implementation according to priority. These priority areas include :Completion of Lower Basic Structures and complex Construction of a purpose built Health Centre building Continue the programme of Seminars, Workshops and Visits on Health Topics i.e., Nutrition, Basic Methods of Preserving Local Foods, HIV Aids, Malaria, Reproductive Health etc Renew and extend supply of cleaning tools for the environmental sanitation programme Expansion of safe domestic water supply to the Project site and further into the community Transportation of basic tools and equipment for the skills training centre Provision of basic sporting items and facilities on the project site Completion of the kitchen and dining facilities at the School and provision of a daily food programme for all students Registration of the Lower Basic School Further development of Training Workshops and continuation if In-service Teacher Training Programmes Establishment of a Skill Centre for the development of entrepreneurial skills for sustainable livelihood. Expanding fundraising and income generating capacity within the Project Establish Skill Centres for the development of local Skills including bicycle repairs, a new Sewing and Knitting training centre, catering, brick making
15. Request for Support WYCE is always most welcoming to people who would genuinely like to support our work in The Gambia. There are a number of ways in which this support could be given :1) Your time and skills 2) Regular Sponsorship 3) Incidental Donations 4) Business Sponsorship If more information is required about WYCE‟s Projects, and the ways in which Support can be given please check our website at :- www.wonderyearsce.co.uk or contact us at any of the addresses below :WYCE Head Office – UK Arundel House 50 Church Hill Wednesbury West Midlands WS10 9DJ Tel :- (0) 121 556 0666 Email : email@example.com
WYCE Head Office – Gambia Madina Salaam Village Kombo South, Western Region The Gambia, West Africa Tel :- (00220) 7822550/7727806 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
WYCE Head Office – U.S.A. 707 Lake Cook Road Suite 110 Deerfield, IL 60015 Tel :- (224) 619-WYCE (9923) Fax:- (847) 714-0901 Email : email@example.com
16. Conclusion The brief resume on WYCE from birth, scope to implementation 2003-2010 is not an annual report. Facts and other details included in the booklet are meant to satisfy the curiosity of those interested groups and individuals who are concerned with the persistent plight of the less privileged members of the world as a global village, particularly in The Gambia. The planned activities included in the way forward may appear ambitious hence demanding capital investment. But WYCE staffs, Trustees, Board of Directors and beneficiaries are strongly resolved to take inspiration from the growing number of potential donors, sympathisers and volunteers. Their collective efforts are massive and reliable enough to sustain the steady development of WYCEâ€&#x;s lofty ideals through to posterity. Positive resource mobilisation initiatives are also being planned within WYCE to reduce the pressure placed on the administration by the acute lack of financial resources. To conclude therefore, it is fitting to refer to the adage that â€œafter everything has been said and done, more is often said than doneâ€?. The support of all and sundry in every nook and corner of the world is highly solicited, to address the social predicament in which the less privileged find themselves, particularly in The Gambia.