For 25 years now, the Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA) has been working to create a healthy, equitable and sustainable future for the Gambian youths. NSGA’s projects emphasize the concept of learning through active involvement. They train, educate and empower youth in order to build healthy communities across The Gambia. Their motto “Learn and Teach Others” perfectly reflects the organization’s mission.
The NSGA is like a little family. The camaraderie between every workmate is incredible. Everyday the office is full of laughs, hugs, energy and positivism. It’s impossible not coming to work in a good mood! Even me, who is not a morning person, it doesn’t take long before I’m smiling at my desk! 🙂
For the last month I’ve been mainly working with the 15 drama troupers. The NSGA is formed of three troupes of 5 young adults who go into schools and communities to promote health awareness. In schools, they will perform a short play on a health issue (they are presently focusing on water sanitization) during the morning school’s assembly. The performance is followed by a short discussion and a period of questions with the students. Then, the troupe will meet with the school’s peer health club and educate the students on various subjects (Ebola, HIV-AIDS, teen pregnancy, life skills). The purpose of the peer health clubs is to train a group of students who will then teach their friends, classmates and family about it. The NSGA peer health program has been going on for over 15 years now. Today, there are almost 200 peer health clubs in schools all over the country!
Afterwards, troupers will go into communities to do health awareness on Ebola, Malaria or water sanitization. Some days they will improvise a skit in the middle of the market (let me tell you it does attract a lot of attention!). After the performance, they will go around the market to talk about the subject and answer the public’s questions. Other times, the drama troupes will go directly into households to educate families about health. I am surprise, each and every time I go with a troupe, how welcoming and responding are the people and the students. Everyone loves and appreciates the work of the NSGA and I surely know why now! 🙂
As for me, well I’ve been doing my best to use my drama skills and teaching experience to help them improve what they are doing. I must say they are all very talented but having an outsider observing and giving them feedback on a daily basis can be valuable. I’ve also given them a hand with different other projects like filming an educational movie on Ebola and putting on short plays about HIV/AIDS discrimination for Worlds AIDS Day on December 1st. They performed at the 22nd Arch in Banjul in front of a massive crowd and they just simply looked stunning! I was really proud!
I’m enjoying a lot my time at the NSGA! As much as I’m doing my best to help them, I’m learning a lot myself! I think what they are doing is pretty amazing and very powerful. They are using nothing else but their drama skills to educate the society and therefore, save lives. Successful people think outside the box and I believe the NSGA pulled it off!