The Tam-Tam by decree


									                                      The Tam-Tam
                                    Newsletter of the Friends of
                                    Senegal and The Gambia

 Spring 2001.                                                                                         Volume 1, Number1

                                               decisions (such as funding of PCV             this role, but needs help, especially with
Everyone, please welcome back the
                                               projects), and help recruit members to        Gambia content.
Friends of Senegal and The Gambia
                                               staff the various positions necessary to
(FOSG) newsletter, the Tam-Tam. We
                                               run the Group. I would suggest that             Fundraising Coordinator to raise
hope to get this organization back on
                                               FOSG begin with identifying a core            funds for assistance projects in The
track and to get you excited about it.
                                               group of people willing to serve as           Gambia and Senegal and coordinate the
Our vision is that the Tam-Tam will be
                                               members of a Steering Committee. The          decision making process which awards
quarterly and will include a paper version
                                               Steering Committee would be charged           money to SENEGAD, the Gambia
and an electronic version. However to
                                               with filling the various Group positions      Scholarship Fund, and other projects.
succeed, we need your help. There are
                                               listed below and taking a leadership role
many ways to get involved.
                                               in FOSG. Serving as a member of a               40th     Anniversary     Coordinator-
                                               Steering Committee is ideal for those         Someone will be needed to coordinate
  First and foremost, we are looking for a     who would like to be more active but          the various activities related to Peace
Group Leader -- someone willing to             who lack the time to take on some of the      Corps' 40th Anniversary Celebration to
devote the time required to coordinate
                                               other more time-intensive roles. Those        be held in Washington D.C. this fall.
FOSG activities, help recruit people
                                               interested please let Pip and Scott know.
willing to fill the various roles involved
                                               The Steering Committee should be able           Communications Coordinator--There
in making FOSG a more active RPCV
                                               to do a lot of its work via email and         are several different tasks here. One is to
group, and interface with the National         telephone. Those interested in getting        handle all communications with FOSG
Peace Corps Association. If you are            more involved are requested to Volunteer
interested in this position please let me or                                                 members. The biggest task is to mail out
                                               for the following positions:                  the newsletter. This job could be broken
Scott Lewis know of your interest.
                                                                                             into an electronic component and a
                                                 Group Leader - First task is to help        mailing component. Sending out
  Scott has been involved recently with
                                               put together a Steering Committee and         electronic news on Senegal and The
the reactivation of another RPCV Group
                                               provide leadership for FOSG. The Group        Gambia could be part of this.
-- Friends of Swaziland (where he was a        Leader is also in charge of maintaining
PCV) -- which has been defunct for a           FOSG's affiliation with NPCA each year.
number of years and which lost their                                                           Special Projects--Coordinates such
affiliation with the National Peace Corps                                                    activities as "Peace Corps Day",
                                                 Member Database Coordinator -               recruitment talks, and interacting with
Association (NPCA). He thinks that the
                                               Someone will be needed to maintain the
approach they are taking to starting up
again may be also relevant to FOSG's
                                               membership list, keeping addresses (both                   Contents:
efforts to expand participation. He shares
                                               snail mail and e-mail) up to date.                The Peace Corps is 40…..2
the following thoughts:                                                                          FOSG Website…………..2
                                                 Treasurer - Manage the FOSG
                                               checking account, which currently                 Refugee Relief…………..2
  The approach used by Friends of                                                                Senegal Expatriate
                                               contains over $7,000. Keep records up to
Swaziland to reactivate their membership
in the NPCA seeks to avoid the pitfalls of
                                               date on NPCA rebates and other                    Conference………………3
                                               donations.                                        To Whom It May
the past; where just one or two people
run the Group, put out a few newsletters,                                                        Concern………………….5
                                                 Newsletter Editor - Currently being
and then run out of time or energy to
                                               filled by Pip Courbois.                           SeneGAD………………..6
keep the Group going as a strong entity.                                                         GambiaHELP……………7
Friends of Swaziland is starting with a
Group Leader and a Steering Committee
                                                Webmaster - Maintain the RPCV                    Current PC programs……8
                                               Website. Eric Shaffner is currently filling
which will take it upon itself to provide
guidance to the Group, assist in making

people invited by PC to become a PCV in      wins the best acronym award. From            have regular access to the web you can
Senegal or Gambia.                           Laura Fine-Morrison an article about a       save us $$ and paper by not having a
                                             program to help schools in The Gambia.       paper copy sent to you. We also decided
  These are some of the positions we         And from our fearless and dependable         this newsletter will no longer print Scott's
need to fill as soon as possible,            leader Scott Lewis, an article describing    news updates from SeneGambia; instead
particularly since the 40th anniversary is   the current Peace Corps programs in The      they are kept on the website and can be
rapidly approaching. With time and           Gambia. Senegal will follow in the next      sent to you directly, to ask to be included
sufficient participation FOSG could          newsletter.                                  on the mailing list email Scott Lewis.
obtain status as a 501 (c) (3) and
undertake more significant fund-raising
activities. Let Pip and I know how you
would like to participate. We're counting
on you. -- Scott                              The Peace Corps is 40!                               Refugee Relief
  Second, this newsletter needs your              And thank Yallah that I am not! The              Katherine Fraser
submissions. Almost any articles are          best way to find out what is going on for         From The Orange Light
welcome: stories, photos, news-items,         the 40th Anniversary of the Peace Corps
poems, reviews, cartoons, and reprints;               is to go to the RPCV web-site at
articles from your life in Senegal and The                                                Many of you who read Orange Light
Gambia or from your life after West                                                       studied in Senegal or in other parts of
Africa. Please send submissions for          Needless to say, the best events take        Africa, were in the Peace Corps, learned
the next letter by July 15, 2001.            place in Washington D.C., and here I am      French or Wolof or Pulaar at our Baobab
                                             in the other Washington. The celebration     Center, or perhaps attended the
  Along with your feature items, we will     is Thursday through Sunday, September        University of Dakar -- or in another way
include a rumor page and a bulletin          20-22, 2001. Rumor has it that Youssou       have become involved with this part of
board. The rumor page is where you can       N'Dour will be entertaining the crowd on     West Africa. Many of you knew us very
update everyone with your exciting lives     the mall (See the most recent edition of     well and worked closely with us and
or someone else’s, if you dare meddle,       3/1/61, page 3, complete with mis-           think of us still. And we think of you too.
and the bulletin board is for                spellings). Lisa Shafer and I saw him        One of the goals of Orange Light has
advertisements, personals, and the like.     here in Seattle. His show is fantastic, so   been to reach out to you to maintain
Got something to sell? Looking for           dress up in your m’boubou and go             closer contact, to nourish our network of
someone?                                     prepared to dance.                           friends and associates and to make sure
                                                                                          that the relationships that we have
  This month marks the 40th anniversary        There are many regional events also,       developed with all of you continue to
of the Peace Corps. There is a vat of        for example the RPCV group in the            grow and thrive.
planned activities brought to you by the     Columbia valley are going to make a
NPCA and almost all the affiliate groups;    float in the Rose City parade, that is the     We have long thought that we should
except the FOSG! In an article below, I      Rose City, Portland OR.                      be doing more to solicit your ideas and
discuss how you can get involved or                                                       support, and keep you involved in and
simply have fun.                                                                          informed about what we are doing. In our
                                                      FOSG website                        New Year’s greetings, we hinted that we
  Feature articles in this newsletter                                                     have a plan for the new century. We
include: from Katherine Fraser the article                                                wrote that “as the year goes on, we will
                                             Please visit the FOSG website
Refugee Relief, reprinted from her online                                                 present more features on ACI’s activities
journal, The Orange Light, that describes                                                 and ask you to help with information,
the plight of a group of refugees from                                                    contacts and donations to help make the
Sierra Leone and what we can do to help.                                                  programs that interst you a success...”
                                             It was created and is maintained by Lycia
From Naomi Shank, an article about a                                                      Today, we want to tell you about
                                             and Eric Shaffner (94-96). The site is
recent (however due to editorial slowness                                                 something we are doing and ask for your
                                             impressive; it includes pictures, music, a
not so recent anymore) conference for                                                     thoughts and help.
                                             chat board, and news from West Africa.
Senegalese expatriates in the United
                                             It also has a great page of Senegal and
States. From Matt Allore, a fantastic                                                       The situation is this: We (ACI) are
                                             The Gambia links.
short story that wins my best title award.                                                assisting FARE (Fund for African Relief
From Arlette Diop, an article that                                                        and Education, a U.S.-based nonprofit
                                                The Tam Tam will be published and
describes Peace Corps Senegal’s Gender                                                    organization) to support a group of about
                                             archived on the web page as well. If you
and Development Committee and that                                                        30 young refugees from Sierra Leone

who had been living homeless here in             with family members in other             friends or colleagues know of a source of
Dakar. Most fled their homeland in               countries who can provide a home or      assistance.
January of 1999, when a campaign of              support of some kind.
mass amputations, rape, abduction, and                                                      If you definitely want to help us, but
murder terrorized a population already          Volunteers to teach them high school
                                                                                          are not sure how you can, send a tax
decimated by a brutal nine-year civil war.       subjects such as math, science,
                                                                                          deductible donation by check directly to
Many of these refugees have lost contact         history, and English.
                                                                                          FARE at 2117 L Street NW in
with their families, if indeed their            Volunteers to help them develop          Washington, D.C. 20037. Please let
families are still alive. Until we made          practical skills that could generate     FARE know that you would like this
contact with them, many of these young           income. Many of the refugees have        money to be earmarked for the program
people were living homeless on the               either limited schooling or had to       supporting Sierra Leone refugees in
street, sleeping on pieces of cardboard,         leave school, and they need              Dakar, Senegal.
and begging for food.                            education and training to order to be
                                                 able to find work and be self              We are new at this effort to mobilize
  With a grant from FARE, we have                supporting. Several have expressed       our friends worldwide in support of the
rented several rooms where the refugees          interest in business, accounting,        people of this region, and we will, no
are living and sharing their space with          tailoring, or barbering.                 doubt, be learning as we go. If you have
yet other refugees who would otherwise                                                    a few spare minutes, please drop us a line
be homeless. We provide food for them,          Items such as clothes, food, linens,     to say “hello” and tell us what you think
and they in turn share their food with           kitchen utensils, or other articles      of our new effort. Perhaps you yourself
others. We have arranged housing and             such as books, pens, notebooks,          have had a lot of success building a
food for a young woman who is eight              soap, etc. Also clothes for young        network such as this and could help us
months pregnant and is now living with a         boys and girls to help the children of   out! We would love to hear from you –
group of Catholic nuns. Two young men            other Sierra Leonean and Liberian        as always.
are learning to use computers in the             refugees attending the Foyer David,
hopes of developing marketable skills.           a center set up by missionaries in        Best regards from Lillian Baer and
                                                 Dakar.                                   Gary Engelberg (aciannex
  ACI has mobilized other resources to          Funds that we could use to provide
provide     assistance.   Two     young          items such as those listed above, as
Senegalese physicians have volunteered           well as other necessities, such as
to provide free medical care. A group of         medicine.
psychologists has agreed to offer
counseling sessions. The Baobab Center         Can you help us to help these young
teachers have volunteered to provide         refugees? We especially need your ideas        Senegalese Expatriate
French lessons in the evenings. Various      and thoughts. Dakar is not an “official         Conference Held In
people are helping the refugees find         point” for the United Nations High
family members in different parts of the     Commission for Refugees to assist
                                                                                               New York City
world. We have also begun reaching out       refugees coming from Sierra Leone, so
to the wider community both in and           fewer resources are available here to help                Naomi Shank
outside Senegal to ask what they can         them survive and meet their needs.
                                                                                          The successful free and fair elections and
                                               Here’s what we are thinking: Perhaps
  Alongside the many examples of                                                          the smooth transfer of political leadership
                                             you know of a local organization of
human generosity, we also encounter                                                       in Senegal in the early part of last year
                                             Sierra Leonean citizens or friends of
setbacks. For example, after a bitterly                                                   catalyzed a group of Senegalese
                                             Sierra Leone who can help us locate
disputed Senegalese/Nigerian soccer                                                       immigrants and expatriates to organize
                                             refugees’ family members who are living
match last month, the refugees were                                                       the first of a kind conference,“The New
                                             in the U.S. or elsewhere. Or perhaps you
mistaken for Nigerians by an angry                                                        York Meeting,” to discuss strategies on
                                             have connections with a nonprofit
crowd. Their living quarters were stoned,                                                 how to work for their country’s
                                             organization or church group that you
forcing them to flee, and their meager                                                    development. Over 250 Senegalese living
                                             can approach, or we can approach, for
clothes and bedding were stolen.                                                          throughout world  coming from all over
                                             funds or other kinds of support. Perhaps
                                                                                          the United States (the New York
                                             you can give us some names, telephone
    These refugees need:                                                                  metropolitan area, New England, Ohio,
                                             numbers, and e-mail addresses of people
                                                                                          Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and
     To find their families in Sierra       to contact. Or maybe you can make some
                                                                                          Atlanta) as well as other countries
      Leone, as well as to make contact      telephone calls to find out if any of your
                                                                                          (Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland,

the Ivory Coast and Gabon)                  workshop involved several presentations       development work. Some of the main
participated in workshops, engaged in        and lively discussions on what might be       points that were raised included:
lively debate, and networked on October      the appropriate role of such a group.
                                                                                              Sustainability. Would these efforts
7th and 8th, 2000 at Barnard College,        Eighteen individuals participated in the
                                             workshop, including twelve Americans,             continue or was this one-time
Columbia University in New York City.
                                             five Senegalese and one Egyptian. Five            assistance?
                                             participants were former Peace Corps             It didn’t appear that the government
  The meeting delved into topics such as     Volunteers (four of whom served in                had been involved in the develop-
how to reorganize the Senegalese             Senegal), three individuals were married          ment efforts. It is critical that there is
Diaspora, how to strengthen the nation’s     to Senegalese, and several had done               government participation. Even
democratic system, and ways to               graduate research in Senegal, served in           though voluntary efforts are com-
peacefully resolve the secessionist          the US foreign service there, and had             mendable, government support is a
movement in the southern region of           done extensive traveling in the country.          key to sustainability.
Senegal. Additional areas of discussion
included ideas on creating a Senegalese                                                       How could the efforts to help one
expatriate     bank    and    foundation,
                                                 Film and Panel Discussion                     village be scaled to address similar
improving corporate social responsibility,                                                     needs in thousands of villages in
                                             In the first hour of the workshop,
building     a    strong    technological    participants viewed the film, “The
infrastructure in the country, and           Legacy of Oumar Dia: Achieving a                 This was a very good media story
women’s issues in Senegal and abroad.        Dream,” about a Senegalese immigrant              about Senegal. However, it doesn’t
The main goal was to forge a worldwide       living in Denver Colorado, who was                seem like too many Senegalese in
Senegalese expatriate association and        murdered by white supremacists. The               Senegal or in other countries knew
coordinate efforts among the Diaspora to     film recounted the remarkable story               about this story and therefore there is
help Senegal either through linking with     around what happened after Dia’s death.           a need to educate and reach out to
already existing efforts or through          An outpouring of support for Dia and his          Senegalese about Dia’s death and the
developing new approaches. Com-              family and awareness of Senegal                   issues it raised. This video could be
munication and action would be spurred       resulted. As Americans from Denver and            used as an instrument of mobilizing
through the internet and a website           throughout the State learned about Dia            Senegalese expatriates and citizens
devoted to the Diaspora.                     and why he had come to the US, they               of other countries to focus on the
                                             sought to fulfill his dream of developing         critical issues facing Senegal today.
  The follow-up committee for the New        his village in the northern part of               Publicizing humanistic concerns
York Meeting, Comite International de        Senegal. A foundation was started in his          could be used as a vehicle to educate
Suivi des Plans D’Action de New York         honor and over $250,000 was raised from           citizens of other countries about
(CISPAN), is currently in the process of     the Colorado community in honor of Dia.           Senegal’s deeper political and social
constructing         the         website     The funds were used to install solar              issues.
( and it should be            panels in Dia’s home in the village for
accessible by the end February/March         electricity, to build a school, buy a water     Despite critical questions raised the
2001. The summary documents and              pump so that more crops could be              group didn’t want to mitigate the very
action plans from all the workshops will     cultivated and install a telephone line so    good intentions and efforts by the people
be posted on the website. A broadcast of     that people could make phone calls from       of Colorado to make meaningful change
the conference is scheduled to air on        the village. In addition, a health center     and qualitative improvements in the lives
Senegalese national television in            was established with an on-site doctor.       of Dia’s family and village. The
February or March. Next year, CISPAN         An American volunteer doctor and nurse        challenge is to translate good intentions
plans to organize another meeting in         traveled to the village to treat villagers    into creating institutional change and
Dakar that will officially launch the        and brought $500,000 worth of donated         long-term impact on improving the lives
Association of the Senegalese Diaspora.      medical supplies for the health center. In    of the Senegalese people.
                                             addition, the video was designed to
                                             educate those not familiar to Senegal           The panel informed participants about
 Friends of Senegal Play A Role              about it’s religious traditions, social       work that has been undertaken by
The New York Meeting was also a              values and history.                           Senegal’s friends/partners and potential
chance for friends and advocates of                                                        areas in which the group might want to
Senegal to explore how they might              The group had positive and negative         work. Judy Smith was a Peace Corps
mobilize to work with Senegalese             reactions to the film, and a lively           Volunteer in East Africa and has served
expatriates toward helping the country.      discussion ensued on what are key             twice with the U.S. Foreign Service in
The “Senegal’s Friends and Partners”         considerations to think about in              Senegal – her husband was Ambassador

to Senegal in the 1960’s, and most                   African-American community; the             For additional information or if you are
recently from 1996-1999. Judy spoke                  American labor movement; faith-           interested in getting involved, please
about how she founded Keru Yaakaru                   based organizations and inter-            email/call     Naomi        Shank       at
Jiggen yi (KYJ), a refuge for girls who              denominational networks; and exis- (718) 436-9656.
are separated from their families because            ting nonprofit advocacy organiza-
of pregnancy, drugs, physical violence               tions.
and incest. The objectives of the program
are to provide temporary shelter to girls           Focus advocacy efforts at the local
in distress; to reinsert girls in to their           level. In Washington, DC, politi-
families; to strengthen their self-image;            cians get overwhelmed by the
to offer resources and hope; and to                  number of groups lobbying them.           To whom it may concern
introduce them to activities that may help           Often they are not influenced by
them financially. Judy talked about the              these efforts. What makes a much
                                                     stronger impact is hearing from                        Matt Allore
issues to take into consideration in setting
up a program.                                        constituents from their districts.        I am a recently returned peace corps
                                                                                               volunteer from Senegal, West Africa. As
  Michael Fleshman, another panelist,                                                          most volunteers, I enjoyed the Trek
                                                     Conclusion and Next Steps                 bicycle I was issued throughout my
spoke about his work with the Africa
Fund, an advocacy organization that              Workshop participants engaged in active       service to get to and from my
works to educate the American public             debates about what the priorities should      appointments, meetings, and work.
and influence public policy on issues            be for such a group and whom it should        However much I used my bike, this story
concerning Africa. The Africa Fund is an         serve. Everyone agreed that they would        is not about me. It is rather about my two
organization that was formed as a result         like to continue to stay involved in the      neighbors; Omar, age 15, and Moudou,
of the fight to end apartheid in South           work of forming a group. After hours of       age 13.
Africa and it sought to gain support for         intense discussion, the group decided.
liberation movements in Southern Africa.
It succeeded in elevating US knowledge             The stakeholders (beneficiaries, inter-
of the situation in South Africa that            ested parties, and those with influence or
eventually led to the end of apartheid.          power) are: the people of Senegal, the
                                                 Senegalese Diaspora and non-Senegalese
  Michael offered good advice from his           interested in the future of the country and
years of experience advocating for               its people.
African issues in the United States:
                                                   Interest areas are Volunteerism, social
                                                 action, social welfare, philanthropy; ad-
   Creativity and “sneakiness” are              vocacy and lobbying (political activism);
    essential. Since African issues are          educational awareness about Senegal;
    not usually of high priority or on the       changing the way Senegal is perceived in
    radar screen of most US policy-              the media, promoting positive stories
    makers or the US general public,             about Senegal; and fostering cultural and
    innovative strategies must be used to        social networks in North America.
    mobilize political support.
   African émigrés are critical to                The group presented its conclusions to
    leading successful advocacy efforts.         all the participants at the conference at
    If Africans are not at the forefront of      the final plenary session of the New York
    these movements, and are not                 Meeting. Next steps include setting up a        Omar and Moudouy began working for
    advocating on behalf of their own            follow-up meeting or online chat in the       me when I had running water installed in
    issues, it is less likely that politicians   Spring of 2001 to discuss bigger              my compound. This wonderful develop-
    and opinion leaders will see these           questions such as what should be the         ment allowed me to plant herbs, flowers,
    efforts as credible.                         priority interests, whether the group         shrubs, and vegetable plants which I had
                                                 should work in Senegal or outside of          been wanting to grow since the beginning
   Find allies to build a solid base of         Senegal, and how the group could              of my service. However, soon after I had
    support. Groups and constituencies           collaborate and connect with the efforts      began all these horticultural adventures I
    which could become key players and           of CISPAN.                                    found that watering all of them two times
    partners in a movement focused on                                                          each day took an extraordinary amount of
    Senegalese issues include: the                                                             time!

  I did not have the time nor the ambition   where they may learn and gain a valuable    quality of life in their families and
to return from teaching business skills to   education. Perhaps those bicycles may       community.
middle school students each day to water     have prevented two little tired boys from
my garden for an hour. Nor did I feel like   dropping out of their classes. perhaps        SeneGAD currently has four ongoing
getting up at the crack of dawn to water     now Omar, the bright middle school          projects to provide access to information,
the plants before the sun began to bake      student, may one day go on to be an         training and resources to help women and
the ground. The resolution to my             influential member of the Senegalese        girls realize their own sustainable
problem presented itself to me after I       community, helping his countrymen to        solutions. Our main focus in achieving
returned from a short trip to the capital,   lead better lives.                          this goal is The Michele Sylvester
Dakar.                                                                                   Memorial Scholarship Fund.             The
                                               And maybe, just maybe it can all be       scholarship was designed to benefit two
  During that trip I had asked Omar to       traced back to the lessons learned from     village-based girls.      Thanks to the
water my plants. Upon returning to my        hard work and earning that bicycle.         generous donations of Peace Corps
village I noticed that he had not only                                                   family and friends funds were available
watered the gardens but also weeded           Little things make differences!            to provide 10 new scholarships during
them and added several other plants to                                                   the 2000-01 academic year. However
the area such as trees and potatoes. I was   Matt Allore                                 there were not enough applicants who fit
duly impressed with his creativeness and     PO Box 2689                                 the criteria and only six applicants were
                                             Gig Harbor, WA 98335
decided then and there he would be my                                                    selected to receive the 50,000-cfa
official gardener.                                                                       scholarships. With the remaining funds
                                                                                         eight 25,000-cfa half year scholarships
  As you may know, Peace Corps                                                           were created. Thus, there are currently
Volunteers do not make much of an                                                        15 young girls (3eme - terminale)
income relative to those people in the                                                   receiving support through the Michele
United States. In the developing world                                                   Sylvester Memorial Scholarship Fund.
though, we make enough to support not                    SeneGAD                         These girls are students in Tambacounda,
only ourselves but also an entire family                                                 Kolda, Velingara, Podor, Kaolack and
of perhaps ten people! I paid Omar about           Peace Corps Senegal’s                 Bambey. Each girl is partnered with a
two dollars per week for the rest of my                                                  Volunteer who becomes a mentor and
service. The arrangement was working              Gender and Development                 friend as the Volunteer follows the girl's
out perfectly.                                          Committee                        progress throughout the school term.
                                                                                         The scholarship is for one academic year
   When I approached his father to discuss                Arlette Diop                   and the money covers the costs of tuition,
his salary, Omar's father stated that I                                                  school fees, books and notebooks, and
should keep it until enough accrued to                                                   other incidental fees throughout the
buy a bicycle. You see, Omar was             February 18, 2001                           school year. This last fall one of our
currently walking about two miles to                                                     scholarship students, Ndeye Ngone Sene,
school four times a day, six times a week.   Dear Friends and Family,                    went to continue her studies in France on
He is a very bright kid who was simply                                                   a Senegalese scholarship. Ndeye was a
tired each night from walking to and                                                     beneficiary of the Michele Sylvester
                                               Asalaamalekum! Greetings from Peace       scholarship program during her high
from his middle school. I'm proud to say
                                             Corps Senegal's Gender and Develop-         school years and is a perfect example of
that now Omar is the proud owner of his
                                             ment Committee, now called SeneGAD.         how this scholarship can promote higher
very own used Trek mountain bike
                                             As some of you may already know, we         education, and begin to make a
bought from the Peace Corps in Dakar,
                                             are a network of Peace Corps Volunteers     difference in the lives of young girls and
Senegal. His brother Moudou also
                                             working to improve the lives of women       women in Senegal.
worked for me and earned enough money
                                             and girls in Senegal by providing them
over time to buy himself a small used
                                             with educational and technical assistance
BMX style bike so that he can ride each                                                    The second project is the Women's
                                             at a grassroots level. As Peace Corps
day with his brother to their school.                                                    Photo Exhibit, which is now in the
                                             Volunteers living in rural villages and
                                                                                         Goree Island Women's Museum. A
                                             towns, we become an integral part of the
  Perhaps this little story says nothing.                                                public display of beautiful PCV photo's
                                             lives of women and girls. As such, we
Perhaps though, it says everything. These                                                taken over the years and explains the
                                             are in a unique position to be a liaison
tow boys were not given a frivolous gift.                                                SeneGAD goals and activities.
                                             between their needs and the many
They worked for over a year to earn their
                                             existing resources that can improve the
bicycles. Those bicycles now in turn take                                                 The third project area is the Girls’
Omar and Moudou to school everyday                                                       Clubs which was a project started during

the 1999-00 school year, in conjunction          hoping to team up with other grassroots     Country Director of Peace Corps
with the CTCs (Community Training                organizations who are already organized     Gambia, Mr. Thomas Morgan, and the
Centers). The Girls’ Club is an initiative       and working towards the same goals.         Deputy Secretary of State for Education.
whereby PCVs in their villages pick a                                                        She had read her own speech as well, one
girl ages 8-14 to participate in a type of         SeneGAD hopes all of the above            that her Country Director, Sirigereh
Senegalese "Girl Scouts". The PCVs               mentioned activities will continue to       Baldeh, helped her compose the night
bring their village girl to the nearby CTC       grow, empowering girls and women to         before. And now, Tarutis drew a copy of
or other meeting site (NGO, town hall,           believe in their dreams, realize their      The Alphabet Parade out of the box,
school etc.) on a monthly basis to meet          potential and aide them in their struggle   dusted it off, and handed it to the first of
other girls where they participate in            to be recognized and respected. Along       many students lined up to receive the
leadership skills activities, arts and crafts,   with our local efforts, the participation   gifts.
technical and communication skills               from you, our families and friends is a
building and ice-breakers to open                proven critical link to keep funding at a     “It was one of the most powerful
communication and bring the girls                level that allows the girls' scholarship    moments for me of the entire trip,”
together. After each regional/depart-            program and other activities to continue.   Tarutis said. “Some of these children
mental meeting each girl is asked to go          If you are interested in making a tax-      were teenagers, some were younger, but I
back to her village and have a village           deductible donation please send a check     was certain that for all of them, this was
Girls’ Club with the help of her PCV,            to Friends of Senegal and The Gambia,       the very first book they had ever owned.”
therefore more girls are impacted. Last          ATTN.: SeneGAD Scholarship Fund,
year there were only two Girls’ Clubs            1276 North Wayne Street, #425,                The ceremony was part of the recent
active in the country and this year we           Arlington, Virginia, 22201.          The    trip that Tarutis, a returned Peace Corps
currently have six departmental level            individual donations from RPCVs,            volunteer (1980-81), took to the Gambia.
clubs bringing girls together from small         family and friends can make the             She spent most of her six week stay
villages. These clubs are active in the          difference between dreaming of a project    coordinating the distribution of books
following departments/regions: Passy,            and realizing one.                          that her Seattle-based GambiaHELP
Thieneba,      Diourbel,      Tambacounda,                                                   (501(c)(3)) had collected from donors, to
Kedougou and Kolda/Velingara. In the              Sincerely,                                 over 50 rural primary and secondary
few months that these clubs have been in                                                     schools throughout the country.
place this year, the meetings have been           SeneGAD Leadership Committee.
extremely successful, and the girls are                                                        “The shipment arrived in Banjul two
really enjoying the activities and time to                                                   weeks late; it took me two days to get the
socialize with girls of their age from                                                       books through customs, and another two
villages in their area.                                                                      days to unload the container and sort
                                                                                             them by region,” said Tarutis. “The
  The fourth project is still in the             Peace Corps Experience                      Gambian Peace Corps was terrific. They
planning phase, but we have high hopes             Inspiration Behind                        helped us sort the books, and they even
that it will be fun and very productive.                                                     found a place for us to store them until
The Bike-A-Thon is not a new idea for                Seattle-based                           we had located trucks for delivery.”
SeneGAD committees in West Africa.                    GambiaHELP
Based on a successful project in Cote                                                          Most of the vehicles were loaned to
d’Ivoire we are currently planning an 8-                                                     GambiaHELP by government agencies or
                                                         Laura Fine-Morrison
day tour to go from Kolda to Tamba-                                                          individual Gambians who were just as
counda. The plan is to bike (up to 35                                                        excited to see the books delivered as she
km) in the mornings, stop in a village and         On February 16, 2001, outside of the      was. “Because of the emphasis on
perform        animations/sensibilizations       Book Production and Materials Research      education in The Gambia, people feel a
about girls’ education and scholarization        Unit near the Gambian capitol of Banjul,    strong loyalty to their schools,” Tarutis
each afternoon. The goal of this project         Shelby Tarutis opened a box of tightly      said. “The Gambians who helped us
is to raise awareness about sending girls        packed children’s books, and worked her     throughout the process always asked if
to school and encouraging them to stay           fingers around one of the many colored      their school was on the list of recipients.”
there, as well as to increase actual             bindings. This was the end of the
numbers of girls enrolled in school. We          Handing Over Ceremony, put on by the          Although she could not personally
are currently looking for Senegalese             Department of State for Education to        deliver all of the books, Tarutis was able
partner organizations to help us organize        thank her for her delivery of 25,000        to distribute the shipment earmarked for
the tour and the animations, which will          books for Gambian students. She had         Dankunku, the village where she had
be done in national languages                    just listened to speeches by the US         been stationed as a Peace Corps
(pulaar/mandinka/jahanke,)      we      are      Ambassador George W. Haley, the             Volunteer. “They held a big celebration

the evening I arrived,” Shelby said.         for books, especially grade        school    former Agro-Forestry Extension Project
“The women sang, shouted and danced          textbooks and children’s books.              and reflects the views and aspirations of
while a drumming troupe played. I was                                                     Peace Corps Environment Volunteers,
sitting on the ground, and the flames          Gambia Health Education Liaison            Host Country Agency nationals and
from the fire and the dust kicked up by      Project, also known as GambiaHELP,           involved community members.
the women’s feet made the scene feel         exists to enable communities in Gambia
almost surreal. It was one of those things   to protect, conserve and improve their         At present 28 Environment Volunteers
I had dreamed of before…coming home          own health, the health of their              are attached to the Department of
and being able to help like this. But to     community, and their natural environ-        Forestry and are working with
have it actually happen was an               ment. By providing books, educational        individuals and communities to (a)
experience I’ll never forget.”               opportunities, seed money and human          extend agro-forestry, horticultural and
                                             resources, GambiaHELP enables com-           improved nutritional practices, (b)
  Today, Tarutis’ organization is working    munities in The Gambia to build a            support the Department of Forestry's
with Gambians on many fronts. In             sustainable economy and environment.         efforts to promote Community Forestry
addition to the Book Project, Gambia-                                                     and     (c)   promote      Environmental
HELP also has an Educational Scholar-           For information, contact GambiaHELP       Education activities in schools and com-
ship Program, which covers annual            at        206.542.3056        or     at      munities. In addition to these primary
school and uniform fees for talented                          assignments, many Volunteers carry out
Gambian students.       Their Friendship                                                  secondary projects which generate in-
Exchange Program saw students from                                                        come especially for women in their
Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary                                                        communities. Many Volunteers are also
School in Seattle exchange letters and                                                    involved in bee-keeping.
drawings with students in Dankunku.            Overview of Current
And they will be going back to the                                                                        Health
                                              Peace Corps Programs
village of Mbaye Kunda to check up on a                                                     The current       health sector project
well they built in 2000, after a flood           in The Gambia                            started in 1995 to assist the Government
polluted the village’s primary source of                                                  of The Gambia to increase the capacity
drinking water.                                           Scott Lewis                     of the Department of State for Health to
                                               Peace Corps celebrated its 30th            further develop and implement health
  This year GambiaHELP will also                                                          education activities, train community
                                             anniversary of service to The Gambia in
collaborate with International Tech-                                                      health workers and enhance the capacity
                                             September 1997. Since then, more than
nology Youth Foundation to build two                                                      of communities to identify and address
                                             1,050 Volunteers have served in The
web-ready computer labs in rural                                                          their own health care needs. Volunteers
                                             Gambia in such programs as Vocational
Gambian high schools. They will be                                                        in the project, who currently number 22,
                                             Training, Cooperatives, Agriculture,
sending a group of eight students from                                                    serve as health education extensionists
                                             Health, Forestry and Environment, and
Seattle’s Garfield High School to build                                                   and are assigned to Divisional Health
                                             Education.     There are 70 to 80
the labs and to teach their Gambian                                                       Team (DHT) Offices, health centers,
                                             Volunteers currently working with their
counterparts hardware and software                                                        dispensaries or villages. They each work
                                             Gambian counterparts in the national
skills.                                                                                   with large towns or selected village
                                             development priority areas of Natural
                                             Resource Management, Health, and             development committees to develop and
  And with Tarutis’ strong personal ties                                                  implement health education activities.
to the village of Dankunku, Gambia-                                                       The primary beneficiaries of the project
HELP will link up the village women’s          Natural Resource Management                are women and children and the host
group with a women’s group in Seattle,                    Project                         country counterparts are usually Public
to help raise funds for a rice pounding                                                   Health Officers or Community Health
machine and storage facility in Dan-           Peace          Corps/The       Gambia's    Nurses.      Volunteers also work with
kunku. This will enable the Gambian          Environmental Project is being imple-        communities to identify and implement
women to start a cereal bank, putting        mented in order to decrease environ-         secondary activities based on the needs
away extra rice during years with a          mental degradation of natural areas, to      of the communities.
strong yield.                                increase awareness of environmental
                                             problems and promote sustainable land                      Education
  GambiaHELP is actively raising funds       use practices, thereby improving the
                                                                                            The Gambia’s Education project is
for these projects. They are also in need    quality of life in rural communities. This
                                                                                          assisting the Government to improve the
of    Pentium      computers,    software    six-year project was initiated in
                                                                                          quality of teaching at the primary and
(especially copies of Windows98 and          September 1997. It is the result of a
                                                                                          secondary school level due to a shortage
Office97), and are always on the lookout     participatory mid-term review of the

of qualified teachers especially in the     increase their capacities in the               Resource Teachers/Primary Ed
area of math/science and computer           development of their computer skills and             Teacher Trainers
literacy. Volunteers in the project, who    a computer education curriculum. They
number 29, serve as resource and            also help increase the use of learner-         Volunteers working as resource
math/science teachers and assist in         centered teaching methods that develop       teachers are working in regional or
improving the traditional teaching          critical thinking skills, comprehension      primary school-based teachers’ resource
methods through direct classroom, pre-      and aptitude of teachers and students in     centers, which are working and
service, in-service training and the        information technology.                      demonstration room for teachers. Due to
development of teaching and learning                                                     the lack of adequate facilities some of the
materials at the secondary school level.        Education/Sec. Ed. Science               centers are also used as libraries for
This way, the capacities of teachers will               Teaching                         students and teachers. Project activities
be improved and students will receive                                                    will also include the cross-sectoral
                                              PCVs work as math/science teachers in
quality education.                                                                       activities of gender and development,
                                            a junior or senior secondary school or the
                                                                                         girls’, environmental and youth educ-
                                            Gambia University. Apart from direct
  There are a number of different types                                                  ation which are Government of The
                                            classroom teaching, Volunteers work
of Education assignments currently.                                                      Gambia initiatives supported by Peace
                                            with counterparts to increase their
These are:                                                                               Corps/The Gambia.
                                            capacities in the development of lesson
     Education/Information                  plans and teaching and learning aids.
                                                                                         DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS TO
                                            They are help to increase the use of
 Technology Computer Specialist                                                          THE NEXT NEWSLETTER IS JULY
                                            learner-centered teaching methods that
  As computer education teachers, PCVs      improve critical thinking skills and
work in a junior or senior secondary        math/science comprehension.         Some
school or the Gambia University. Apart      PCVs assist in establishing or managing
from    direct   classroom    teaching,     libraries and science and computer
Volunteers work with counterparts to        laboratories in schools.

           Map brought to you by The World Fact Book

Friends of Senegal and The Gambia needs your support!
Annual membership in Friends of Senegal and The Gambia (FOSG) is only $15. This money covers the
cost of sending out the Tam-Tam and is also used to enhance Volunteer projects in The Gambia and in
Senegal. There are several different ways you can support FOSG. Either you can submit $15 directly to
FOSG or, if you are already a member of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), you can select
FOSG as your Country of Service group and we will receive a $15 rebate from NPCA to cover your
membership. If you are not presently a member of NPCA and wish to be, we can process this membership
for you (see below). There are also several special projects listed here for which you can provide extra

Name: ___________________________________________________________________________

Address: ___________________________________________________________________________

Phone: _____________________        E-mail: ___________________________________


Country and years of Service_________________________________

(if RPCV, include program and location)________________________________


_______I wish to become a member/renew a membership in Friends of Senegal
and The Gambia. Enclosed is my check for $15 (annual dues).

_____ I wish to become a member of both FOSG and the National Peace Corps
Association (NPCA). Enclosed are my annual dues of $40 (NPCA sends FOSG a
$15 rebate for each membership).
FOSG will process your membership in NPCA.

_____ I wish to contribute to the following projects:

1. The Gambia Student Scholarship Fund. Amount ______________

2. Michele Sylvester Memorial Scholarship Fund for village girls. This is
also known as the SENEGAD Project. Amount _______

3. General support to PCV Projects (FOSG is occasionally receives requests
to support other projects)

Country ____________
Amount ____________

Make out all checks to "Friends of Senegal & The Gambia" and send them to:

Friends of Senegal & The Gambia
c/o Scott Lewis
1276 North Wayne St., #425
Arlington, Virginia 22201

                  The Tam-Tam                                                Officers:
The Tam Tam is the newsletter for the Friends of Senegal   Group Leader: Scott Lewis
and The Gambia. It is affiliated with the National Peace   1276 North Wayne St., #425
Corps Association.                                         Arlington, Virginia 22201
This newsletter can also be found on line at               Editor: Pip Courbois
                                                           5011 45th AVE. NE
                                                           Seattle WA. 98105
We ask those, who have access to and can read the          206-529-8182
TamTam on line, do not ask for a paper subscription to
save on our costs and use of paper.

Permission is granted to reprint any portion of this
newsletter, if credit is given.

Friends of Senegal and The Gambia
C/O Pip Courbois, Editor
5011 45th Ave. NE
Seattle WA. 98105

Address Service Requested


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