Friends of Basse, Inc., a global group comprising natives and non-natives of the eastern Gambian town of Basse, has raised D106, 000 (over $3,000) to help provide evening fast-breaking meals (Iftar) every Friday during the Holy Month of Ramadan at the two mosques in Basse and also dinners for the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr) gatherings at the Basse mosques and their counterparts in the immediate, surrounding communities of Mansajang Kunda, Manneh Kunda, Kaba Kama and Koba Kunda.
The town of Basse: Giving back to the community that raised you!
The president of Friends of Basse Momodou Bilo Krubally said he was highly pleased with the response of the Gambian community, including non-Basse natives. “I must … thank the non-Basseans … for their support,” he said, adding that initially many had been doubtful that the ambitious target amount of D100,000 was ever going to be met. “Even though many were skeptical of our D100,000.00 goal, we were able to collect a total of D106, 940.00. The response shows what we are capable of as a group and it is a true testament to the fact that we are more effective when we pool our efforts.” Mr. Krubally, who is based in the US city of Los Angeles, appealed for more support particularly from those within the organization still non-committal to the Ramadan initiative.
Running the project
Every Friday, an assortment of Gambian meals will be provided at the two mosques, and during the Night of Power, at all the six mosques in the area. “We will provide quality, delicious Iftars for a minimum of 200 people each Friday at both mosques and dinners for Basse and the surrounding communities on the night of Lailatul Qadr,” revealed Friends of Basse project manager Kawsu Sillah in Basse. He said the cooking would be done by “our young sisters and they would be paid small amounts of money” for their services. He said this would be another way of encouraging more female participation within the organization.
Mr. Sillah also revealed that a number of “dynamic youths” had been identified to help the project team with the distribution of the meals. He contended that this inclusionary measure, on his part, was a way of making the youths in the town take ownership of this enterprise and take up responsibility to “develop our beloved town.”
This is Mr. Sillah’s first project assignment since his election earlier this year and he said he was looking forward to execute this “Godly Project” to the letter. “I hope that the project will record success and increase better public relations for Friends of Basse.”
Friends of Basse executives, hoping to replicate this endeavor annually, say they are working carefully so as not to botch up operations, particularly in the way funds are allocated. “I think it is absolutely vital,” stressed the Portsmouth, UK-based FoB chief financial officer Mamadou Salieu Jallow, “that we get this project right in terms of accountability and transparency.” He revealed that from day one, the FoB executive group has been working hard to ensure that the monies collected were well documented and separated from the FoB membership funds. “We keep records of all amounts donated and have conducted our business in the open.”
Mr. Jallow revealed that he and his colleagues tried their best to avoid incurring transfer charges during the wiring of the funds to Basse. “Another thing I believe we did well was getting the best exchange rates possible at a time when they were fluctuating in The Gambia.” He promised that he and his colleagues would be working closely with the project manager and his committee on the ground to “ensure that these funds are disbursed appropriately and accounted for, and that they are spent for the sole purpose of the Ramadan project.”
Now in its fourth year of existence, Friends of Basse, Inc. has, over the years, embarked on several community initiatives in Basse such as sponsoring needy students, financing sporting activities, building an ablution facility at the Basse central mosque, among others.
The volunteer organization relies entirely on income from membership dues and occasional advertisements on its website to help finance its undertakings.