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Empower the People – Fight COVID-19

“In our opinion, collective response means not forcing people to bear misery. A collective response needs first of all solidarity. The people need the possibilities to participate in preventive measures. The people need to cooperate and stand together in the fight against Corona.” (As expected: It hit us hardly!)

Last update: May 21, 2021

April 2020 – Facing the difficulties coming with the COVID-19 outbreak in Gambia for many people, a group of friends came together to raise funds, to sensitize and to help in the material conditions of the people. The Peoples Collective is of and from the people since its not some charitable cause but a mutual sharing of resources between neighbors and likeminded people. We recognize the country is going to be hard hit in the areas of food and basic resource related like sanitation materials; we decided to put our own meager resources together and to call out for help since we can’t cover all of these expenses ourselves.

There will be constant updates on how we are doing with funds and resources. Also how the country is responding to this pandemic (scroll down). Share the cause widely and help in raising funds to defend the territory of life in The Gambia!

“Global solidarity must go beyond fighting COVID-19. This disease is not the only one killing people. Hunger is all around, in many places of this world, like in West Africa, the health care system is insufficient, the malaria season is soon coming etc.
The COVID-19 crisis will bring more hunger to this world. To combat COVID-19 confident of victory, we have to fight poverty, in fact we have to abolish poverty globally. For a good life for all.” (Essential For Survival: The Need Of Global Solidarity)

May 2020What we did so far: From End of March ’till begin of May we delivered food packages to some 90 families and few single person. Beside that we provided some 50 hand washing equipments. For all together we already spent about 250.000 Dalasi, almost 5.000 Euros. We would like to continue, but we need more funds.

July/August 2020 – Since local transmission of COVID-19 started in July, life is getting harder in the Gambia. The state of emergency with restriction to businesses and movement of people started on 27th of March. On 6th of August, more restrictions were implemented. Amongst others a night curfew from 10pm till 5am will be effective for 21 days. On 27th of August the night curfew was extended for another 21 days. The governments efforts to slow down the spread of Corona are not very successful, as far the authorities focus more on repression then on preventive measures.

September 2020 – On 18th of September, the night curfew was lifted and new restrictions related to the continuing state of emergency announced. The wearing of masks is still mandatory in the public, however it is hard to find people covering mouth and nose. Just as it’s hard to find people “believing” that the pandemic is real. Many still guess: Corona is not in the country, it’s all politics. At the same time, corruption is still on the rise – and there is no transparency regarding official COVID-19 funds at all.

October 2020 – As the tourism-season is coming to open, many restrictions regarding to the public state of emergency were lifted. After reopening some non-essential public places such as markets throughout the country, various travel restrictions were relaxed and the lumos or weekly markets are operating since October 12. On October 14, motels, bars, hotels, restaurants, video clubs, museums, public swimming pools and gymnastics were allowed to open, and on October 16, night clubs and casinos started to operate. The tourism sector is preparing for the arrival of visitors. Since more than seven months most workers in this sector are without job – and many got no support despite several announcements by the government. Travellers destined to the Gambia shall show evidence of a negative PCR test result conducted not more than seventy hours prior to their arrival. On October 16, Gambia officially counts 882 active COVID-19 cases.

November/December 2020 –  The number of active COVID-19 cases in Gambia is dropping. In November 70 and in December 55 new cases were confirmed. End of the year, the national situation report lists only 9 active cases in the country. People are free to move, but only few tourists arrived. The believe that there is no Corona in Gambia is prevalent.

January 2021The country sees another sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. On January 10 the official number of active cases counts 72. A second wave is expected to come …

“Urgent action is needed to solve the problems of the people. Urgent action is needed to strengthen the healthcare system. Urgent action is needed to equip healthcare workers with essential protection equipment and knowledge on how to cope with the pandemic. Necessary medication should be available at treatment facilities. And last but not least: Resources should be provided transparently.” (The call from the civil society to an error in politics)

February – May 2021: Not the Corona cases raising rapidly in the Gambia, but the prices increasing every day. The situation is still hard for many people, especially for the poor, who get no support from the government at all. From February to May not only food stuffs got costly, from 20 percent (rice), to 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent (oil) and more.

Crime is rising as well while the police is hunting mainly young people and taking money from them, for example when they catch them smoking widely-used weed. So called security or anti crime forces entering private houses without warrant. Why we should wonder when armed robbers doing the same? Robberies, burglaries and killings are spreading fear in the communities.

Many people are without jobs, the existing jobs are paid very bad, providing not enough for living. Instead of creating jobs, every day peoples livelihood get destroyed by greedy investors and a corrupt elite.

People still need support, but we have to take the hard decision to stop our Food and Sanitation Funding Project. We say thanks to all our supporters and hope that Gambia will remain a livable place.

Future prospects: In December 2021 Gambia awaits presidential elections. After 22 years of dictatorship which ended in January 2017, the people still cannot see a change in their lives. Promises were done, but many people in need get no governmental support. 

There is not a lack of money, there is just no justice. Millions and billions of Covid-funds and enormous amounts of money which entered Gambia since 2017 to “develop” the country and to reduce poverty were given by different funds and countries. But nothing from this is seen by people in need. The money disappeared like sand in the wind or find ways in the pockets of corrupt politicians and their allies.

People are suffering, people are desperate, and many are without hope of seeing better times. Where this situation is leading to? The future will show the answer…

If you want to help, please get active and start your own initiative.

The peoples collective stopped it‘s initiative in May 2021.

Contact: thepeoplescollective@riseup.net