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Gambian women championing development

Jun 25, 2010, 3:04 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

In what could be described as an absolute reality, we are saying without hesitation or doubt that Gambian women are truly championing development in The Gambia.

This is evident in the hardworking indomitable Gambian iron ladies engaged in vegetable production at the Banjulunding Women Horticultural Garden in the Kombo North district of the Western Region of The Gambia.

At this place, these Gambian ladies, who have the love of the country at heart, are engaged in the cultivation of different types of horticultural products, in which they fully employed themselves and earn healthy money to support their families.

To know what they are capable of, in terms of the socio-economic development of The Gambia, calmly and gently read the interview with SHE SHE SHE by the President of the garden

She She She: What are your names?

Kadaysa: My name is Kadysa Sambou.

She She She: Tell us a bit about yourself?

Kadaysa: I am the president of Banjulding Women Horticultural Garden since 1994.

She She She: How did you become president?

Kadaysa: I became president through a general agreement by the women of the village unopposed. This was because of my support for and contribution to the welfare of the women in the village throughout my entire life.

She She She: How many women are working under you?

Kadaysa: We used to have over 150 women working in this garden, but at the moment only 135 women are working full time.

She She She: Tell me a little about the garden.

Kadaysa: I went pleading to one Ousman Jarju, to appeal for support. He advised us to grow coos, which we did, but with only 60 people. And all that time, I was not yet a president of the women. That’s why I said they selected me because of my hard work and support. Equally, I am very grateful to them.

She She She: So how did the garden come into existence?

Kadaysa: It was around 1994-95, when we received help from the Taiwanese Mission in The Gambia through the government, to start vegetable gardening in Banjulunding. At that time, some people were sceptical, believing that we are only good in business, but not in agriculture. But I stood firm along with some ladies to oppose that, and we promised strongly that we will lead and others will follow. And, today this is what is happening in the country.

She She She: Can you explain to me, please, why you said you are leading in the country?

Kadaysa: Our products are second to none in the whole country. We give out donations to needy areas; we are self employed, we support our families, we paid our children’s school fees and medical bills, and we do a lot from this garden.

She She She: What are these products that you said are second to none?

Kadaysa: We grow and cultivate groundnuts, maize and melon in the dry season. We equally grow vegetables of different varieties, and we also have herd of cattle.

She She She: How do you and your ladies make a living in this garden?

Kadaysa: We are in groups of five each, and each group is given a plot to cultivate. But at the end of the harvesting period, each group will pay to the account of the garden D1500 for the development of the garden. However, the remaining money, no matter the amount, belongs to the five in the group concerned.

She She She: How much money do you think each gets at the end of the harvesting period?

Kadaysa: It is very simple, and we all earn a lot at the end of the harvest. A single plot of groundnuts can earn you over D30,000. Just minus D1,500 from this, and the remaining belongs to the group, every three months.

She She She: You said earlier that you gave out donations, to who did you donate?

Kadaysa: Laughs… We have donated to the last AU Summit in The Gambia an amount of D20, 000. We donated to the Gambia Football Association in the last campaign for the World Cup an amount of D20, 000, we also donated to the refugees residing in the country all kinds of vegetables, for their feeding. And, recently we donated to the Kanilai International Cultural Festival, just to mention a few.

She She She: Do you have any support from anyone or any institution?

Kadaysa: Oh yes, from the government, the Taiwanese Mission in The Gambia, the Alkalo of Banjulunding and the villagers, one Haruna Manneh in Lamin and the ITC.

She She She: Do you have constraints?

Kadaysa: We do have constraints; very big and severe constraints!

She She She: Can you kindly tell us these constraints?

Kadaysa: Our first and major constraint was water, but thank God we now have some new boreholes. The other serious and touching constraint was, and still is, that thieves are disturbing us a lot. We even find it difficult to leave our materials here in the garden, and they will even steal our unripe fruits in the garden. Also because our fence is too old and broken, animals also destroyed our crops too much. You can see it here for yourself, what happened a few minutes ago.

She She She: What advice do you have for your fellow women in the other villages?

Kadaysa: I will challenged them to stand firm in their hard work, and try to build progressive unions for that matter in order to share their problems and constraints, and to find solutions to these problems. I will also call on them to engaged in gardening, and other agricultural activities for the betterment of their families. Men alone cannot move these families and the nation forward; they need our cooperation and support.

She She She: Anything more to be added?

Kadaysa: I will like to thank Agriculture and all those who in one way or the other contributed to the success of this garden. We have recommended their services and we wish them all well in all their undertakings, especially His Excellency the President for his continuous support to Gambian women.

She She She: Thank you very much for granting us the interview.

Kadaysa: You are boosting our morals and encouraging us, and you are always welcomed.