BASSE ASSOCIATION CONDUCTS TOWN HALL MEETING IN BASSE
Recently, the Basse Association (BA), represented by visiting executive members Wuyeh Yorro Sanyang, Alhagi Saibo Drammeh, Bakary Jallow, and in consultation with home-based groups, organized a town hall meeting in Basse in an attempt to engage the community on a number of issues. The people spoke, among other things, on community unity and on ways of enhancing the work of the Diaspora association in Basse.
B.A., Inc. Executive Attendees: Alh. Saibo Drammeh, Wuyeh Yorro Sanyang, Dawda Sankareh, Michael Hamadi Secka and Bakary Jallow.
Chairman: Michael Hamadi Secka
Venue: Basse Community Center
1. Handing over of sports paraphernalia donated by B.A., Inc. and other BA members.
2. Introduction of B.A., Inc.
3. Update on B.A., Inc. projects
4. Fund Raising
5. How can B.A., Inc. work with other organizations in Basse.
Michael Secka: Opened the meeting by introducing BA executives and welcomed everyone for attending the meeting. He gave a rundown of the items on the agenda.
Michael Hamadi Secka, third from the right
Mr. Furu Gomez presented the soccer balls donated by B.A., Inc. to Waterman FC. He was followed by Yorro Sanyang, who presented the donated basket balls, volleyballs and a basket ball ring net to the chairman of the Basse sports committee, Mr. Foday Manneh. Furu commended B.A., Inc. He stated that the BA had made history and that current efforts by the association were exemplary. According to him, such efforts had never been undertaken before. He encouraged the BA to continue doing what they have been doing.
Soccer jerseys, donated by Ousainou Krubally and Assan Jaiteh to the T-Junction football club, were presented by Foday Manneh.
Yorro Sanyang introduced the Basse Association. He outlined how the organization came about. He talked about its inception in Cologne, Germany and how it quickly spread to Basse people living abroad. Mr. Sanyang talked about how important it was for Basse people, especially those at home, to contribute towards the development of their township. He advised the youths to refrain from taking the back seat and to help lead in the efforts to uplift Basse.
Mr. Sanyang emphasized to the attendees that Dawda was the BA project manager in Basse and any concerns should be directed towards him. He urged the youths to pay their contributions to Dawda until a designee assigned to collect contributions was identified.
Sports Gifts Presentation (l-r): Soccer balls .... Furu Gomez (middle) and Dawda Sankareh (right)
Bakary Jallow: Urged and encouraged everyone to engage their friends and family members to be part of the association. He remarked that almost every household in Basse had a family member living abroad. Bakary appealed to the gathering to question their loved ones if their BA membership status was up-to-date. He stated that might be a big boost for the organization.
Dawda Sankareh: Talked to the gathering about all the projects the BA had been engaged in. He updated the attendees on both present and past projects. He reported on the school, mosque and sports projects. He also elaborated on the projects that have been undertaken to date: sponsorship for needy and enterprising pupils in the three elementary schools, the organizing and sponsoring of the super cup in the Basse Nawetaan and the central mosque’s ablution center.
Alh. Saibo Drammeh: Asked how we could generate funds to develop Basse. Mr. Drammeh said he was trying to make sure that no stone was being left unturned. He emphasized on the significance of the involvement of the Basse community itself. Basically, he was saying to the attendees that charity begins at home. He talked about the fund raising agenda he had in mind. One of his plans was to invite a famous artist in town (Basse) to help raise funds. His strategy was hoped on the possibility of organizing such a fundraiser without spending a dime from BA’s meager coffers. He urged everyone to pay up their membership fees and become part of a history in the making. Mr. Drammeh proposed to set up a fund raising committee that would oversee all fund raising events in Basse. This was unanimously welcomed.
Alhagie Saibo Drammeh on fundraising ideas
Pent-up frustrations came to light when the meeting agenda moved to how the BA could work together with other home-based organizations in Basse. People who had reservations towards joining the association voiced out their concerns and offered some recommendations herewith:
Foday Manneh: Voiced out his frustration about the “alienation” of Manneh Kunda. He expressed his dissatisfaction about the lack of a representative from Manneh Kunda on the BA executive committee. He revealed that they had been misinformed about the entire BA agenda.
Pa Amadou Susso: Thanked Dawda for all his work in BA affairs. He stated that the idea behind the BA was a very good one but objected to using the Internet as the only source of information about BA activities considering that only few people in Basse have access to the Internet. Mr. Susso advised the BA to use the existing structures in Basse to navigate itself through. He said there were available structures in Basse that could help run projects efficiently and effectively.
Momodou S. Kamara (MSK): Said he was very moved about the BA and its projects. He thanked the BA delegation for the good work they did in informing the people about the organization and clearing certain doubts and concerns. Also, he stated that the association should continue to sensitize the communities and give updates. He suggested for the project manager to be the focal contact for the BA in Basse. He advised the association to use the monies collected wisely. Mr. Kamara voiced out his concerns regarding the whereabouts of the monies he and others had contributed to the BA a year ago.
Muhammed Krubally: Told the gathering that he was in possession of the BA membership fees collected in Basse. He said some of the money was used to cover the expenses accruing from the donation the BA had made to the Basse Health Center recently.
Seated front L-r: Michael Hamadi Secka, Wuyeh Yorro Sanyang, Furu Gomez, Bakary Jallow, X
Alagie Baldeh: Told the gathering to desist from antagonizing each other. He said his perception was that people were power hungry and therefore would engage in undermining those chosen as leaders. He advised the BA to create a small committee on the ground which would help run its affairs to achieve better results.
Essa Kanuteh: Expressed frustration about the way the BA was operating on the ground. He lamented about the cold relationship between the project manager and the Basse Youths Association (BYA). He stated that the project manager had not been communicating to them and that they deserved to know the projects that the association was engaged in. He referenced a comment made by a member of the BA on the My Basse website that he felt was offensive to the people on the ground. According to him, the project manager had not been engaging them and that they knew they could make a difference if engaged.
Souri Camara: Expressed similar sentiments like former speakers. He encouraged the members of the BA to continue the good work and urged people to unite and develop Basse. He stated that the bickering was counterproductive and should be avoided.
Alagie Jallow: Thanked the BA and its delegates. He urged the association to work with the people on the ground to achieve better results. He told the gathering that he was among the people who were misinformed, but the town hall meeting had helped clear some of the misconceptions surrounding the Basse Association. Mr. Jallow confessed that his personal problem with the project manager was real but said, as a Basse youth leader, he would hope to work with the BA.
Audience Members Looking On
Yorro Sanyang: Acknowledged and attempted to address some of the concerns raised by the speakers. He made it clear to everyone that Dawda was the project manager and whatever the BA was going to do would go through Mr. Sankareh. According to Mr. Sanyang, the misunderstanding going around was mainly created by the BA and he promised attendees that it would be resolved in due course. He told the gathering that the BA was going through its infancy stages and that he hoped the organization would get better in its execution of projects. He suggested a process of giving the people in Basse the opportunity to attend BA teleconferences. He told the audience that it was doable and he promised to work on it.
Bakary Jallow: Urged the Basse youths to refrain from common grudges among themselves in order to move Basse forward. He stated that the power struggle he noticed was mind-bothering. He advised the youths to work together and contribute to their community. Bakary urged the gathering to desist from taking as too personal certain comments made by BA members online. He encouraged attendees to feel free to contribute their ideas and comments on the website. He reiterated that the purpose of the website was to network and to enhance transparency and accountability. He advised that statements made by members on the website should be taken as personal opinions and not to be considered as official messages from the BA executive.
A cross-section of the audience
Basse Association’s Who is Who at the Town Hall Meeting
Bakary Jallow: Assistant Secretary General
Alh. Saibo Drammeh: Fund-raising Secretary
Dawda Sankareh: Project Manager
Wuyeh Yorro Sanyang: Senior Adviser
Michael Hamadi Secka: Consultant and Facilitator
** The townhall meeting minutes were compiled by Bakary Jallow