Written by Mariatou J. Newlands, Think Young Women, The Gambia
In the original grant, the overall project objectives and aims were to, through a survey, gauge the perceptions of women at grassroots level about FGM/C as well as to understand their opinion regarding a prohibition of the practice. The project also reached out to school girls and boys to sensitise them on GBV and harmful traditional practices that affect them.
At the end of the initial phase of the project, we realised that the survey report had not generated sufficient data and analysis to be used as a national reference and that the target number reached through the project was too few to effect the change we wanted to see. By expanding the geographical coverage of the survey as well as increasing the number of people reached, we would be able to widening our impact, and thus, we decided to apply for a renewal grant.
The challenges we faced related to the project itself but also to the application process for a renewal grant. For example, to generate support for a survey that included national data and not just regional data on GBV required close communication with the chairs of the Regional Youth Committees in all regions of the country. These discussions took a lot of time and effort.
Due to the electricity scarcity in the Gambia, completing and submitting the application online was difficult for us. When there was a power cut, we lost information which meant that we had to retype sections that had already been completed in the application.
In the application for a renewal grant, we attached the activity reports, the findings of the baseline survey and brief footages of the activities to illustrate project achievements so far. We highlighted the importance of expanding the project to the other regions of The Gambia. We demonstrated that the overall project aims and objectives had not been fully attained due to neither the largest region or the region with the second highest rate of GBV in the country had not been covered in the project activities.
Thus, in our application, we highlighted the success of the first phase of the project but also modified the project aims and objectives to present a strong case of the importance of continuing and even expanding the project activities and reach.
We learnt that for donors to fund a continuation of a project, the organisation must demonstrate that they implemented the project according to the workplan, submitted their reports according to deadline and that the expected objective and targets have been met.
We also learnt that honesty is key. If a target has been unable to be met, this must be reported to the donor with a justification as to why and commitment to ensure that target is met.
Mariatou J. Newlands is a passionate young African feminist of Gambian nationality. She is a Legal Practitioner by profession and Think Young Women’s Programme Manager. Mariatou has been a member of Think Young Women (TYW) since 2012 and has immensely contributed to the growth of the organisation by spearheading activities that have remodelled laws affecting women and girls in the Gambia. She guided the implementation of the activities of the 2017 AmplifyChange grant awarded to TYW and facilitated the renewal grant application of the project.