FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

11 February 2013

Gambia: A Three-Week Training for Masons, Labourers and Engineers On Earthworks Wraps Up

The ceremony was chaired by the Secretary General Mrs. Ya Fatou Gaye Jobe who spoke on behalf of the President Reverend Gabriel Leonard Allen and congratulated the trainees for their time and hard work. She also gave a brief history of how the training came about by asserting that when she attended a programme at Kartong and then saw the technique at Sandele resort,

she informed her management about it and then they looked for scholarship and were lucky to be sponsored by the World Bank's Growth and Competitive project Marching Grant Fund. She said eight percent was pledged for them and their company financed the twenty percent for the successful conduct of the training. She further stipulated that the "hands on" training workshop on the use of earthworks technology for building construction is a three-week course which is intended to target masons and labourers in the first two weeks and then the third week was used for training engineers. She also highlighted that the Earthworks Construction of Kartong the Gambia, a firm which has undisputed specialized knowledge in earthworks technology, has been contracted by GACCON to train fifty labourers, thirty masons, ten engineers in the production, curing, utilisation and designing of Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEBs). She also posited that the labourers have been given practical knowledge and experience over the first two weeks. And they were also taught how to manufacture, cure, handle and test the quality of CSE blocks, and also given the guidance on the maintenance on block moulds and tools, asserted Mrs. Jobe. She further adumbrated that the masons were also taught the Compressed Stabilized Earth-block making process thoroughly and they also acquired specialist skills to lay and plaster CSEDs in good workmanlike manner and it also includes the techniques to construct vaults and domes without formwork.

In addition, the third group which is centred on the engineers, also benefited from an intense specialized teaching and learning experience during the last week of the workshop, and they were introduced to block mix design, soil test and the necessary foundations suitable for earthworks, stated Mrs Jobe . Mrs Jobe went on to say that the engineers have been taught some structural consideration on the use of possible locations of structural members, and these included the interlink between hollow CSEBs with lintels, arches, column, beams, staircase, and roof designs, including domes. That the disadvantages and limitations of earthworks technology were given utmost considerations, she postulated. She further dilated that this training is GACCON's attempt to generate significant interest in a well tried technology which he said is appropriate for low-cost bungalows. And in the process, she said they hoped to propagate a sound technique to the construction of less expensive, but reliable structures. she further stipulated that the earth works technology specialists claim that the Compressed Stabilized Earth blocks attracts less than 10% percent imported cement as opposed to the existing average cement-content for conventional sand-cement blocks. Therefore the popularity of CSEBs in the Gambia may bring in positive macro-economic ramifications for the country and its people. She summed up by expressing delight to the trainees for utilizing the opportunity because they are the first Gambians to be trained on earthworks construction and also expressed her appreciation to the trainees for their response. She urged them to use the knowledge gained and for them to be ambassadors of technology and be the partners of GACCON.

Tijan Badjie, an engineer on his part who successfully went through the training expressed gratitude to the company for providing them with such a unique support.

Mustapha Darboe, a mason also expressed similar sentiment for acquiring the skills of earth work technology. He was really delighted to be certificated on this technology, because he said it would go a long way towards towards improving his life.

Mr. Alpha Jallow the technical director of the Earthworks Construction advised the trainees to use the technology as they were taught and appealed to them to be guided by the principles of truth and honesty and his door is always open to help them in case of any eventuality. The ceremony was closed the awarding of certificates to the trainees.

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