Projects in The Gambia
1. Light Up Gambia – this is a program that we have supported in the past. Lynn McConville, executive director, reviewed the history of the program and plans for the future.
The organization started with the recognition of places a felt need for electricity for medical activities, especially childbirth. A solar powered suitcase was developed that was available at a reasonable price and could be used for this purpose. The first solar installation took place in 2008, and there are now 58 clinics with solar, although funds are still needed for maintenance for wear and tear. The project has now been expanded to develop solar power on an ongoing basis, in particular at one of the major hospitals in the country. Plans have been drawn up and ideas for a fund drive have been made,. The last remaining obstacle is a contract with the national power supply company, but this has proved elusive over the past several years.
A more recent development is that an American drug company has offered the project 1000 used solar panels, which Light Up Gambia now proposes to send to the country for use.
2. Gambia goatherd
Two veterinary students at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a project to establish a commercial goat dairy in the Gambia to answer the problem of low protein in the diet of many children, which has resulted in serious stunting of growth, and to reduce the dependence of the country on dairy imports. Dr. Brianna Parsons, a recent graduate of the Penn veterinary school, outlined her experiences in the Gambia and the showed a business plan for a commercial scale goat dairy. She presented short and long-term goals for the dairy, with the prospects of obtaining funding. More information is available at gambiagoatdairy.com.
This is being supported by a a coalition including a group of Rotary clubs, led by the Paoli-Malvern-Berwyn club, represented at our meeting by club president Carla Chieffo.