Covid-19 response at Mbollet-Ba
Covid-19 is global and it brings different challenges to each country. Our partnership leads us to learn and support from each other. While Salusbury and QPCS students face home learning, what's happening at our partner school? Trustee David Hodge has been leading our programme of response
The Gambia has relatively few Covid-19 cases. The Director of Public Health, who comes from Mbollet-Ba, told us that there are 14 hospital admissions so far. However, the economic lockdown and the collapse of the only industry (tourism) mean villagers are starting to go hungry.
The Gambia's schools are all closed to reduce infection. Children must stay in their compounds. A Government radio-school schedule is the only form of teaching at the moment. OGS is working with staff at Mbollet to get radios into every compound so that all children can follow the programmes.
Working to survive the lockdown
Our Global School consulted by phone and online with the community. The biggest problem is that families who have no resources beyond what they earned yesterday are starting to go hungry. Markets are closed. Transport that many rely on to get to jobs in towns is closed. It's the dry season and there's no food in the fields.
OGS has created a programme of paid cash employment, with jobs given to the families known to be in greatest hardship, to create resources for buying food. A total of 60 compounds will send a member for a 4-day cycle of work. The jobs are on maintenance work that was planned for next year but we are bringing forward to now to get money into the pockets of hungry families. Work is available to men and to women, is paid at the national basic wage. We are also supporting costs of the materials. Results look good!
Broken furniture in many rooms was creating uncomfortable learning conditions. Fortunately there are carpentry skills in the community.
Building repair works include reconstructing the Bantaba (traditional meeting hut) damaged in a storm in 2012
Everything's smartened up with a love heart on the ground, shiny tables, and new notices on the walls.
To allow classes to be staggered and increase social distance when lockdown ends, the school is putting batteries and lights in one block to extend the school day.