The engagement marked the third time the NGO has offered humanitarian assistance to them since their displacement due the renewed conflict between the Movement of Democratic Forces of Cassamance (MFDC) and the Senegal military in the Cassamance area, after the Senegal military launched an offensive few months ago.
The commodities were handed over to ChildFund’s affiliated local partner Foni Ding Ding Federation and West Coast office of the National Disaster Management Authority for onward individual distribution to Internally Displaced Persons in Foni.
The items included 300 bags of rice (50kg), 300 hundred gallons of cooking oil (10ltrs) and 300 packages of soap bars earmarked to IDPs currently seeking refuge in their host families in Bondali, Sangajor, Bwiam and Sibanor villages.
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony, Samba Keita, chairperson of Foni Ding Ding Federation said: “This meeting is a meeting of peace. However, we all know some problems occurred around here, which led to the displacement of some people. That is why ChildFund came with something to ensure that they help those people.”
“As the chairperson rightfully mentioned, normally we do not want to see these kinds of things happening but when they happen, as a child welfare organisation, we have to come and support for the children and their families, because normally when disaster occur, it is the women and children who suffer,” said Iddi Bah, Foni Ding Ding Federation manager.
“For the first time Foni Ding Ding Federation disbursed cash transfer of up to 103,000 reaching out to 23 families. In the second engagement, we disbursed rice, oil and soap to 160 families, and today we are here to present another similar gesture by ChildFund, The Gambia in collaboration with Foni Ding Ding Federation,” he added.
ChildFund Country Director, Madam Musu Kuta Koma-Bah, said her organisation launched an assessment after the displacement of people due to the Cassamance clashes, and it was observed that a lot of children were displaced along with their parents.
She added that it was then that ChildFund decided to launch a follow-up assessment to ascertain the situation and the needs of the displaced children.
“The first respond strategy was for ChildFund to come up with a master response plan to support the system. Of course based on the recommendations of the NDMA or the government response report. As for the master response plan, we really know we need to complement the effort of government in providing food and non-food items,” she added.
Sutteh Colley, who represented the Seyfo, thanked ChildFund for the gesture, adding that it is a gesture worth emulating. Mariama Gibba, a beneficiary on behalf of beneficiaries echoed similar remarks.