In order to reach the objective and achieve sustainable development, fight poverty and improve livelihood conditions in rural Gambia, FIOHs community development program is working with village development projects (VDP). At present FIOH are working with 16 villages. Two are newly identified villages, Sare Njobo in Upper River Region and Bayaba in Central River Region.
The approach for FIOH is to work as a partner within the VDPs through a bottom-up approach using participatory methods. Prior to the start of any projects in these communities a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) is conducted. PRA is a planning tool that helps identify the development priority areas that are compiled into a Community Action Plan (CAP).
FIOHs interventions in the VDPs are within the thematic issues of governance and organisational development (Community Based Organisation (CBO) management, project proposal training, democracy), gender and equality (Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriages), youth empowerment, health (HIV/aids, malaria, nutrition and hygiene), environment (waste management, pit latrine, tree planting), agriculture and food security (gardening, cereal banking), entrepreneurship training and civic education.
Target groups in the VDPs are Community Based Organisations (CBOs), such as Village Development Committees (VDCs) including representatives from CBOs and traditional community leaders, parent teacher association (PTA) including parents of children going to school from a cluster of villages. PTAs is a major stakeholder in the education sector and their main interest area is to participate in the management of the community school in order to improve the learning conditions of the children. Other targeted CBOs are Mother’s clubs, Environmental clubs, Gender committees etc.