Pageant came into existence after a
holiday in The Gambia in 2001 by Pippa and Ian Howard. They met a hotel
guide who took them to the village of Bakalarr, on the north
bank of the Gambia River, to visit a school. (More about the first
visit) After their return to the UK, Ian
and Pippa began to send materials and equipment to Bakalarr school, and
Pageant was established as a UK Charity in 2002, specifically to support
education and related projects in The Gambia.
Pageant's work still focuses on
education, but we have expanded our activities to include workshops for
teachers, help with local village enterprises and action to defeat that
scourge of tropical countries - malaria.
Pageant is run entirely by
volunteers - our members. Members pay an annual membership fee which
covers our administrative costs. None of us get paid for our work, and we
don't claim personal expenses. This means that every penny from
fundraising events or given to us as a donation is used for our projects
in The Gambia. Where Gambian people need financial assistance for the
education of their children, we pay the money directly to the family who
needs it. Our Gambian agents (see below) ensure that an assisted student's
family uses the sponsorship money for their education and that all fees,
book charges etc are paid in the correct manner to the school. If we need
to buy things, we try to spend money in The Gambia, rather than here. This
avoids shipping costs, and encourages the local economy. The Gambia is a
very poor country, so costs and wages are low. All of this means that
Pageant's method of operating is extremely efficient, and even a small
donation can do an awful lot.
Pippa, Ian and other Pageant
members travel to The Gambia regularly, typically in February, April and
October, when they visit schools and sponsored students, and check on the
progress of various projects. Our work in The Gambia is thus very much
hands-on. We are not simply pumping aid into a black hole. In between
times our marvellous agents looks after things and keep in touch with us
Pageant's agents and other people in The Gambia
could not function without the dedicated work of our agents in The Gambia.
is Pageantís main agent in The Gambia and does an enormous amount of
work with both school projects and sponsored children. He also still works
as a tourist guide at the Atlantic Hotel in Banjul when he has any spare
time. He became Pageant's assistant agent in 2002 and stepped up to the
main role in 2007.
Yankuba Ceesay is Pageantís assistant agent
in The Gambia. He helps Wandifa cope with the increasing load of work
connected with the sponsored children and has special responsibility for
the up-country regions on the South Bank such as Jarreng.
Abdoulie Gibba is now the regular driver for
Pageant and has made himself so useful that he is now warmly welcomed as a
full member of the Pageant team.
Momodou Kanteh is a part time assistant
agent for Siffoe.
Kemo Ceesay was Pageant's first agent in The
Gambia, from 2001 until he left Pageant in 2007. Pageant also has three lady
'go-betweens' who run the Pageant loan schemes.
Mariama Gitteh runs the loan schemes for
Sika and Bakalarr
Binta Jammeh runs the loan scheme for the
Mums' Club at Gunjur SHM Nursery School.
Mai Baldeh runs the loan scheme for the
Jambanjelly Women's Union group
Pageant has appointed Lamin Njie as
'Artemisia Ambassador'. Following training at Gambia's National
Agricultural Research Institute, he will tour the country providing
training and support to help village communities grow their own Artemisia
annua - a plant with proven anti-malarial activity. (more
We must also mention Pageant member Linda
Murgatroyd who now lives in The Gambia and works for the US Peace
Corps, and who is always available to help us.
Bakalarr was originally the main focus of
Pageant's activities, but we have slowly expanded our work to include
schools in other areas, especially away from the tourist strip near the
coast. 'Up River' villages present a particular challenge, as the roads
are not good. For instance, a journey of some 120 miles to Jarreng takes
most of the day, and overnight accommodation is essential.
Our projects are listed in a
series of linked pages listed below, which also includes the topic of
fundraising. Without your kind donations and innovative fundraising
efforts, Pageant could achieve very little. There are also links to these
pages in the floating menu on the right.
spelling of Gambian place names varies, and many have entirely different
alternative names. We have used what we believe to be the most commonly
used versions. Other versions are listed as aka: Just for the record,
Banjul was once called Bathurst!
Pageant Projects and Other Pages
Fundraising - Some of the ways
Pageant raises money - sponsored challenges, ethical gifts, fÍtes,
carnivals, raffles, donations - including how schools in the UK have
raised money in innovative ways
Projects - Sending things to The
Gambia, visits to Gambian schools, sponsoring children, Pageant Loans,
The Artemisia Project, Tina's art project.
Pageant projects in
Bakalarr - Pageant has been helping Bakalarr Basic Cycle School
since 2001. We have helped them with classroom floors, a new
kitchen, new toilets, a boundary wall, vegetable gardens, a home
economics classroom, a multipurpose sports court and starting a nursery
Pageant projects in/around Banjul -
Pageant is helping many schools in the greater Banjul area, ranging from
nursery schools to Senior Secondary Schools. We are also involved with GEPADG
in protecting the environment.
Index - We have produced an index of
Gambian schools which Pageant is associated with. It includes
those with major projects as detailed in the Projects pages, and those
which just have sponsored pupils. The Google Maps listed below
show the exact location of many of these schools. Make sure you select the 'Satellite'
view, and in many cases you can zoom in to see the actual buildings.
Please let us know
if we have got anything wrong.