Steering Committee Meeting - January 17th, 2010
Mamadou Sellou Jallow
Wuyeh Yorro Sanyang
Cherno Baba Jallow
Ousman Kamara (Invitee)
Pa Samba Johm (Invitee)
Chariman: Pa Joof
Secretary: Cherno Baba Jallow
Time: 3:00PM Eastern Time (USA)
As customary, Wuyeh opened the meeting with another note of gratitude for the hard work the members of the Steering Committee and the general membership have been doing to advance the cause of the Basse Association, Inc. He said we were "progressing in a positive manner." He urged patience in that sometimes organizations can seem slow in delivering their stated objectives.
On the proposed Scholarship Fund for three pupils from the three elementary schools in Basse, Ousman Kamara intimated that investing on students at the middle/high levels sounded a lot better in terms of discretionary spending because he said expenses at the primary level were usually negligible. Government tends to lend a supporting hand to the elementary schools.
Bakary agreed with Ousman. "I will focus on the middle and high schools." He asked whether the financial aid was going to be merit or need-based. He said the two needed separating. "If you want to put the two together, it might be too hard." He also asked if the financial support was going to be on a continuous basis. He proposed a cost analysis on this plan.
MB Krubally warned against losing focus on the proposed idea. He suggested sponsoring the same pupils all through to completion. Pa Samba Johm said he thought education was "free" at the primary level. He thought we should look at both the need and academic aspects as criteria for assistance. He revealed that a Basse elementary headmaster had once revealed to him that too often poverty was keeping some pupils from attending school. He stressed on keeping an eye on needy students without losing sight of on-going academic progress as a condition for continued help.
Wuyeh Sanyang said the Scholarship Fund was just the beginning. "We are identifying only the needy. We should not make it permanent as people's circumstances change," he remarked. He proposed yearly assessments to determine continued financial support or the discontinuation thereof. Wuyeh also suggested setting up a committee of veterans in the teaching field to help guide the Association in this area.
Ousainou Krubally revealed that he had solicited some advice from the veteran teacher Michael Hamadi Secka on the the modalities of this Fund. (Ousainou, as a member of the Sholarship Advisory Board, was tasked with the responsibility to contact Mr. Secka.) Ousainou revealed that Mike Secka had suggested some help for a "development class" in Koba Kunda Primary School. He reported that each pupil was paying D5 for this class. But some parents have had some financial difficulties in paying this fee for their children. Mike also suggested some assistance for the metal and word work workshops at the middle schools. "They can't do their practicals because there are no facilities," Ousainou reported being told.
The rationale behind Michael idea was to provide assistance to a greater number of pupils and students rather than to just three pupils as was previously earmarked by the Steering Committee.
Cherno Baba Jallow thought Mike's idea was better. If more schoolchildren stand to gain rather just three, it was better to go with the idea. He, however, asked for more details on this "development class". MB said he liked the idea, but his only concern was that this help be not restricted to Koba Kunda Primary alone. "Let's give each school a shot." Samba Johm agreed with MB, suggesting that the Association instead spend the $300 previously earmarked for the three pupils on Koba Kunda Primary's Development Class and similar classes as found in the other two elementary schools.
Wuyeh counseled against discarding the previous plan. "This is just a start. Let's us give $100 to each student in each school." Bakary lent his support behind Mike Secka's proposal. He warned against dictating to the schools. He, instead, suggested asking the schools what was it that they needed help for and then the Association would figure out the right balance of actions to take. Mamadou Sellou Jallow said he was in support of Mike's idea.
Ousman Kamara, on the other hand, expressed skepticism about this "development class." "What are they developing?" He asked. Ousman supported the idea of sponsoring the three individual pupils. He said the results of the Association's financial outreach could be better measured by way of individual rather than wholesale support.
Actionable: Ousainou Krubally to contact Mike Secka again on his suggestion and the possibility of extending the same initiative to all the three elementary schools in Basse.
Wuyeh reported that the cost for building a second floor for the Basse Central Mosque had been determined to be D3, 536, 000 (Three Million, Five hundred and Thirty-Six Thousands dalasis). The mosque committee believes the solution to the constant roof-leaking is another floor higher up.
Bakary said it was better to concentrate on the female wing of the mosque since it was less than developed compared to the male section (the mosque proper). Cherno agreed, saying since the amount was too huge for the Association's undertaking, any contribution the BA sent towards this amount would be seen as a drop in the ocean. It was better to concentrate on the women's section; it needed carpets and other accessories. Sellou thought it was a good idea to divert resources to the women side. "We can work quicker." Bakary said we needed to get to work on the female wing fast enough to gain the confidence of the mosque elders.
It was suggested that Wuyeh reach out to Alh. Kaw Yero Cham, a mosque committee member, whom he hand contacted before, to report the BA's inability to help with the expenses of a second floor. Wuyeh declined the task, saying a committee ought to meet with the mosque elders and announce the BA's decision and the alternative proposal (read:the female wing of the Basse central mosque). He reasoned that talking to Alh. Kaw Yero Cham alone wouldn't do a lot of good since Kaw Yero was merely a member of the mosque committee. Cherno agreed with Wuyeh, adding that a selected group ought to meet with the mosque leaders and consult with them on the BA's next move.
The meeting agreed that there was a weakness on the Basse side of the Association. Information and feedbacks were hard to come by from the BA representative in town. A suggestion: Find two other individuals, tenatively Jewru Krubally and Yusupha Jaiteh, to work with the BA Steering Committee member Dawda Sankareh.
Actionable: Sellou to contact both Jewru Krubally and Yusupha Jaiteh to ascertain their interest and willingness to join the BA and work together with Dawda Sankareh.
Wuyeh implored Cherno to rethink his decision to withdraw his name for the nomination of the post of Secretary General (Cherno had earlier written to the general membership sounding his reasons for withdrawing his name). Cherno, however, said his decision was final in this regard. He said he had another agenda to attend to, but would still fulfill his responsibilities as a member of the Basse Association, Inc.