Gambian students need your help. Roughly one out of every 200 students in Gambian schools today are there with support from GambiaRising’s donors. But we turn others away every day.
So we can help as many students as possible, we spend no money on overhead (no offices, no payroll) and our we call our approach to scholarships “just enough, just in time”. This can be as little as a uniform and some books to get a child back to school, or up to a university tuition and sometimes a laptop for the top 3% of senior secondary school graduates. Occasionally, when the reason that a village’s children are not in school is that there is no school, we have supplied materials for them to build a school; we have also helped organize several targeted fundraising drives to build teachers’ housing for upcountry schools.
In The Gambia, all programs are managed by Gambian volunteer Coordinators who identify and qualify students in need in the communities in which they live and work. In the U.S. our focus is on goal setting, budgeting, and fundraising. We rely solely on individual donors, and over the years we have discovered that we must rely nearly exclusively on those who have lived and/or worked in The Gambia, along with generous support from their friends and their families.
We have just over 250 active donors, nearly half of whom donate monthly. We need to increase that number. That is the purpose of the Development Council.
We know that when Peace Corps volunteers return from The Gambia, most feel a strong connection to the people of the former host country. But also that that will wane over time, unless it is reinforced in some way. We aim to be part of that way.
Our goal is simple: increase the number of RPCVs and others who participate in GambiaRising. This can be measured by the number of monthly donors we have, as well as by the total funds we raise annually. We stay in touch with weekly posts on FaceBook and Instagram, and several times per month on LinkedIn. We send a newsletter by email once per month. But we understand that the most effective fundraising is personal. Therefore we seek to increase the number of people involved in inviting others to join GambiaRising. We seek breadth both geographically and in the years of service, so that those who served fifteen, twenty, thirty years ago, know what we are doing and join. We also hope that every RPCV who has come back more recently will join even at $5 per month, which we hope will grow over time as their career progresses and they pay down their student debt.
How this is achieved is up to the Development Council. A fundraising party at your house, a 5K run, speaking at a school, etc. Encouraging FaceBook birthday fundraisers and Giving Tuesday campaigns. Organizing group chats or interviews with GT students. We have no set agenda other than increasing the number of Gambian students we are able to help. The term of a Council membership is two years.
Please join us in giving young Gambians the chance they deserve.