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Nome: FASPEBI – Supporting Foundation for the Development of the Peoples of the Bijagos' Archipelago

Address: FASPEBI, Ilha de Bubaque, Cx. P. 385, 1031 Bissau, GUINEA-BISSAU (Africa)

Date of Creation: August 15, 1995
Legal Classification: Public Utility Foundation

Head of Operations: Father Luigi Scantamburlo, President
Co-Founders (7): Mr. Giorgio Scrivanti (Italy); Mr. Gaetano Solano (Italy); Mr. Domingos Kussinorte (Guinea-Bissau); Mr. Mario Carlos Yala (Guinea-Bissau); Mr. José Carlos Pina Barros (Guinea-Bissau); Mrs. Regina Maria Segunda Soares (Guinea-Bissau); Mr. Alberto Baptista Lopes (Guinea-Bissau)

Staff and Employees:
- 11 people full-time: 1 coordinator. 1 bookkeeper. 1 director of logistics, 1 computer/copy-machine technician, one pedagogical advisory commitee composed of 6 members, 1 secretary
- Contracted Staff: 60 teachers and monitors and 15 with various responsabilities (security, sailors, helpers ...)

Experience / Activities

This foundation is a development of an original work, initiated nearly 20 years ago (1975-1995) by Luigi Scantamburlo, in support of a group of fishermen and students, which created infrastructure in Bubaque and the islands to help the local population respond to new challenges imposed by post-independence (1974) development.


It's written in the legal statute of the Foundation: "Article no. 3: FASPEBI has as its main objective to promote support for the development of the Bijago Archipelago's population, contributing not only to the elevation of its economical level, but also its social, cultural, and moral levels, using all legal means available."

This above all, to help the Islands' peoples live in accordance with their traditions, without refusing new technologies, thus obtaining modernity by way of a harmonious transition.

Following the painful experience of armed conflict from 1998-99, and that of the crisis arisen between members of Bijago society (a conflict of political nature), the majority of Faspebi's activities have been orientated towards a quality schooling, this being, from our point of view, one of the best ways and most urgent needs for aiding development.

Domains of Intervention

before 1995:

- The opening of Circle School (5th-6th graders) in Bubaque (1975, 76) with external support from the Minister of Education, Dr. Mario Cabral;
- Opening of the primary school in Canhabaque (1979), an island that had always refused collaboration with the Portuguese colonial powers;
- Construction of infrastructure in Bubaque (1976-94) supporting the creation of 100 groups of fishermen (the port, a mechanics' garage, a carpenter-shop for the construction of boats, a warehouse of fishing equipment);
- The fencing of a garden in Orangozinho (1982-1991), the construction of a sewing school, instruction of animal raising, to help the population improve its diet and learn new skills;
- Collecting pieces of art (sculptures) in preparation of a museum memorializing Bijago culture (myths, historic events, religious beliefs, etc.).

after 1995:

- Support to public schools in Bubaque, Canhabaque, Orangozinho, and Imbone for the implementation of bilingual education (in Guinean Creole and Portuguese); the first class of this bilingual education began in 2001 and completed its experimental six-year period in July 2007. The Project, titled PAEBB (Project of Bilingual Education in the Bijago Islands) operates in 11 schools with 1,680 students. The MEES (Ministry of Education and Higher Instruction) recoginzed the value of PAEBB, signing the Protocol of Agreement, in June 2008. This project is also operating in schools in Takir (Antula) and Catió (on the islands of Infande and Como).
- The composition of teaching plans, manuals, a dictionary, and the Creole Grammar, as instruments for the teachers of bilingual education;
- Construction of 5 schools and improvements to five others, making classrooms complete with chairs and desks;
- Monthly financial support for the teachers, by means of an adequate subsidy;
- Cultural reserach to help conserve Bijago culture: a Bijago Language Grammar and Dictionary, the preparation of a room for the Museum of Bijago Art, the filming of a trilingual DVD about the Bijagos' Spiritual World (34 min.);
- The construction of several workshops (cutting and sewing; wood sculpture), classes of agriculture and apiculture, classes of music and dance, to help students develop practical activities;
- Construcion of a Technological Center, including a computer school, a Cybercafe with VSAT internet, and a 350-watt Radio Station;
- The opening, in 2007, of the Museum of Bijago Art, known as "The Fr. Arturo Biasutti Museum", in Bubaque.

Fr. Luigi Scantamburlo
Bubaque - December 21, 2010

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