Rotary Club of Edmonds completes five-year education project in Gambia

Students at work in the science labs. (Photos courtesy Rotary Club of Edmonds)

Rotary Club of Edmonds members Lamin Manneh, Maggie Peterson and Suzanne James traveled to The Gambia at the end of February, joining partners The Rotary Club of Brusubi and MRC Holland to dedicate two science labs in the country’s rural central and upper river regions.

According to a Rotary Club of Edmonds announcement regarding the trip, Manneh — a native of Gambia — “was keenly aware that the lack of science education in rural Gambia adversely affected young people in those communities. If students wanted to pursue higher education in the sciences, and if their parents could afford it, they had to travel west to the capital city of Banjul. Aside from there being no infrastructure for such travel, they had to live with host families while going to school and often were taken advantage of, if not abused.

“This was a particularly perilous arrangement for girls,” the club said. “Many students simply gave up and made the dangerous journey to Europe in order to try to find work.”

The transformation of lives has already begun, the club announcement said. “Students at Kaur Senior Secondary School, which has been operating for 18 months, compete in science competitions with the larger, established schools in the urban areas, and win. They are planning for careers in medicine, engineering and architecture. Enrollment and attendance at both campuses has skyrocketed. The second lab at the Basse campus of the Gambia School of Education will not only serve local secondary school students, but also be used for science teacher training.”

L-R: Rotary Club of Edmonds members Suzanne James, Maggie Peterson and Lamin Manneh in Gambia.

The Rotary Club of Edmonds said it was grateful to Rotary District 5030 for two grants — a district grant in 2019 and a global grant in 2021.

Team members who traveled to Gambia will be making a presentation to the club on April 2. The public is invited. For more information, visit www.edmondsrotary.com.

  1. That education is so important.. I am glad our local Rotary group has taken it on.

    Thanks to the members who traveled to The Gambia to see the education in person.

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