Paul and I have a combined 40 years of experience working for the emergency services within the UK. We have a shared desire to help people and to be professional during all our work activities. We have experience in delivering community education to protect people and prevent emergencies and disasters occurring as well as intervening as first responders. We are keen to progress our personal development and are both studying towards an MSc in Disaster & Emergency Planning and Management.
The undertaking of disaster risk reduction activities in foreign countries, such as this project, is one element of our continued learning development. Therefore, this project is serving both the children of the Gambia’s education as well as our own.
While we are both well qualified and continue to develop our knowledge base at Coventry University, we have learnt a lot by starting this project. One learning point, from this project so far, has been to keep in mind that many other people and organisations have a desire to help. An additional common trait that Paul and I share is the ability to work as part of a team and to keep our aims and objectives, of helping those who need it, at the forefront of everything we do. One aspect of professionalism within the UK emergency services is to remain objective and efficient when working with others towards a common goal. A further shared skill in our profession is to formulate a plan b and if conditions change, to implement it.
When we started this venture, we advised you all that it would remain transparent and accountable, and that you would be able to see how your donations have helped, by photographing our achievements and documenting them here on our website, and this is the reason for this update.
Recently, due to the receipt of new information from the Gambia, we have decided to update this blog to explain to all the kind people who have donated their hard earned money towards this project. There has been an unexpected change in our plans. However, our intentions remain the same, and that is to help a group of children, in the Gambia, to gain a better education in a more comfortable environment. A third-party, whom we were not informed about, are also helping the school. When Paul arrived on his last visit, work, that we had planned to carry out for the school, had already been done. Therefore, we saw this as a real opportunity to team up with the other interested party and pool our resources to help the children gain a school even better than we initially hoped. Since this new information came to our attention, we have paused our activities and have been considering how to best proceed. Communication with the other interested party has proved problematic. However, it has become clear that the other group are not keen on teaming up to combine our resources. Therefore, we feel we must respect their wishes and allow them to carry on as they wish. Although this is a shame and the children in the school could have likely benefited more by our working in partnership, the fact is; that without being able to communicate with them professionally and directly, we don’t know the reasons for this. Therefore, we have decided to look for a different school to provide some assistance too.
We want to reassure all those who have kindly donated to our project, that funds raised will go to another school who are also genuinely in need of aid. We have already purchased some items for the school we first chose to help, but for the sake of professionalism, we are adjusting our plan. When time allows, and a new recipient school has is identified, we will update this blog and our Just Giving page to that effect. Paul and I have learnt that there are other questions we will need to ask before agreeing to help. One question to ask includes, is anybody else already helping and if so, can we speak with them?
Please continue to follow this blog as we update it and feel free to e-mail us if you have any concerns or questions. Thank you again for donating, your help is much appreciated, and we can assure you that your donations will be spent wisely, to help a group of children with their education in The Gambia.
Rich & Paul.