Apr 21, 2008, 4:51 AM
Global Unification (GU) Gambia, a youth-led research and development organization, in partnership with Earth Charter International, has initiated the Women’s Initiative for Economic Empowerment and Education (WIFE) project, a community self-help project, in the village of Dongoroba in Jarra East District of Lower River Region.
The project, partially funded through 1% Club Netherland and WIFE project, is a garden project being piloted in Dongoroba village.
As part of the project, Global Unification will repair the village garden fence, improve on water scarcity in the garden by constructing a solar-powered drip irrigation system, construct storage room, as well as explore new markets in urban areas where the women can sell their produce among others.
Madiba Sillah, Partnership Coordinator of Global Unification, said the WIFE project is aimed at supporting rural women to improve their income level through gardening as well as building their skills in micro-finance and entrepreneurship thus helping them to move out of poverty.
“One of the barriers to climate change adaptation and the causes of community over-dependence on forest and forest products is poverty, therefore, through the WIFE project, we are providing alternative income to these women and their families; hence reduce the practice of cutting down of trees for sale as firewood in the community,” Mr Sillah said.
Explaining further, Mr Sillah said the WIFE project will also motivate women to embark on tree planting around the garden as part of their afforestation efforts.
Meanwhile, speaking upon their return from the Dongoroba, where the project team had a consultative meeting with the beneficiaries, Ebrima Dem, the project supervisor, said they are quite impressed with the level of commitment of the project beneficiaries and progress of the work on the garden carried out so far.
“Within a short period, the garden has been cleared, levelled by tractor, the fence repaired and metal gated and right now, plans are underway with the village elders of Dongoroba to get more land to expand the size of the garden,” Mr Dem said.
As part of the project activities, later this month, Global Unification will start training the women on garden management, entrepreneurial skills and marketing strategies to enable them produce high yield produce and have them sold beyond the ‘lumos’ (weekly market).
“This is a community where most women do not have basic form of education in business management, making them easily exploited by the ‘banabanas’ (middlemen), therefore through the WIFE project, we are turning these women into successful entrepreneurs,” Mr Dem said.