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Group works to rebuild and revitalize urban infrastructure in Brikama Nema in The Gambia

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The infrastructure and roads are in poor shape in Brikama Nema. (Photo supplied)

Last year, Madison’s Mustapha Drammeh and friends set out on a campaign to feed over 300 families in three regions in The Gambia in just under just 90 days during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, they have started a campaign and a GoFundMe to revitalize the urban infrastructure and to transform Brikama Nema into a model city for development in the West Coast region of the Gambia by 2025.

Brikama Nema Diaspora (BRIND) is a group of residents from Brikama Nema living in the Diaspora who have the community at heart. Drammeh is a part of a hard-working team who is now working on their Road and Streetlight Campaign for Brikama Nema in The Gambia. 

“Brikama Nema Diaspora Group, we are a small group of residents from Bekama, which is located in the west coast region of The Gambia,” said Drammeh. “And our vision is to rebuild and revitalize the urban infrastructure in Bekama through the help of donors like ourselves, people in the diaspora, and the community as well. So we are like a grassroots movement, just trying to do something that has never been attempted before. We have been working on this for a few months and now we are at the stage where we’re trying to raise funds and awareness as well, in order to implement the program.”

BRIND’s vision is to transform and improve the quality of life in Nema in three to five years through partnerships with individuals, businesses, agencies, and international organizations across the world. Drammeh emphasized the fact that their work is a team effort and acknowledged the support on his team from members in The Gambia, the United Kingdom and throughout the United States. 

“The pandemic, as you know, has a global effect everywhere,” said Drammeh. “Not just The Gambia, but around the world. But prior to the pandemic, we had our own pandemic which is the massive exodus of youths from our community. So, we are trying to change that dynamic by providing them with resources that can help them develop new skills and give back to the community, therefore generate income for the younger generations to come. So, with the pandemic in place, we still feel like there’s an opportunity for us to mobilize resources among ourselves and develop an agenda we all aspire to do for our homeland.”

Day two of street light implementation in Brikama Nema (Photo supplied)


                 

BRIND’s current goal is to transform Brikama Nema into a model city for development in the West Coast region of the Gambia by 2025 while safeguarding the religious and cultural aesthetics of the community and natural habitat. The team is working on projects right now to help improve the livelihood of community members throughout The Gambia, specifically in Brikama Nema. 

“Right now, we have two projects, we have a short-term project and a long-term project,” said Drammeh. “In the short term, we are working on implementing 200 solar street lights within the community to benefit the beneficiaries, which will be about 14,000 residents or more within that area.

Out of 36 truckloads of gravel and sand delivered to Brikama Nema by Brikama Nema Diaspora (BRIND). The group is also working on the acquisition of 200 solar streetlights to protect the community against criminal activity.

“In addition to that, we are doing some road rehabilitation projects at a very small scale,” he continues. “What I mean by that is we’re just patching holes wherever we can ahead of the rainy season. Because once the rain hits, it adds up to some of the environmental concerns that we have and we’re trying to mitigate that ahead of the rainy season. So, whatever funds we get from the GoFundMe would be allocated towards streetlights and the cost of transportation to collect gravel from the Beachside into the community.”
                 

BRIND has created a GoFundMe for their project for donations from Madisonians and community members. The team is focused on community efforts to raise awareness about the poor infrastructure and roads in Brikama Nema.

“So as far as raising awareness, we want to put the word out there, reaching out to the community around Madison and outside of Madison and philanthropists who are interested in advocating and helping people in The Gambia in particular,” said Drammeh. “Brikama is the administrative district of the west coast region and the west coast region is one of the largest regions throughout The Gambia … and with the least access to good roads and infrastructure. Our infrastructure is in very poor shape. And we want to use this opportunity to inspire other communities around us to do more to help develop our own community.”