Voluntary Services Overseas is a development charity from the UK that works
through volunteers in job placements.
The VSO has
been operating in The Gambia since 1960 and its work presently focuses
on the areas of education, disability and sustainable livelihoods.
It sends qualified professionals in certain sectors to spend several
years working at local salaries in key, identifiably useful projects
in developing countries.
The aim of the
programme is to improve the lives of all people with disabilities in
urban and rural areas, through empowerment
and improved services.
Through working with Disabled People’s Organisations, the 6,600
members of the 9 organisations are direct beneficiaries of the programme. Of
these, about 62% are male and 38% female.
Although the members of the DPOs have been identified as the main
beneficiaries, this programme will hopefully have a direct or
indirect benefit for all people with disabilities in The Gambia.
The aim of the programme
is to improve the quality of inclusive primary education for all girls
for core class subjects in rural areas.
programme covers all regions in the Gambia but there is specific focus
given to Region 5 because of VSO’s role in the implementation of the
DFID funded Basic Education Support for Poverty Reduction (BESPOR)
The key beneficiaries are primary school children, serving
teachers and teacher trainees. The implementing partners are Region 5,
Gambia College, BESPOR team and Headquarter Directorates at DoSE.
The aim of the
programme is to ensure that disadvantaged people in rural communities
in The Gambia will gain more income or food security from their
VSO The Gambia (VSO TG) started working with grassroots
organisations in 1998. Since then it has learned that there is a need
to work closely with viable partners who have good track records and
are committed to addressing the needs of disadvantaged people in rural
communities. Learning from previous development undertakings has shown
that in order to have an impact on the lives of women, the elderly,
youths and the disabled, it is important to build the capacity of
local non-governmental and community based organisations (NGOs and CBOs) so that they will be equipped to offer effective and efficient
services to these communities.
Disadvantaged people in the context of the Gambia are women, the
elderly, youths and disabled. Women form the majority of those that
are not literate – who do not have access to land and are
traditionally stereotyped as “second best”. The elderly tend to be
neglected by projects and programmes whilst rural youths are
disadvantaged when compared to urban youths. There are few higher
learning institutions or job opportunities that result in high
rural-to-urban drift. People with disabilities are not seen as
productive members of their communities.