By Mamadou Dem
Mr. Ebrima Dem, a member of the Women’s Initiative for Economic Empowerment and Education (WIFE), who doubles as National Coordinator for Global Unification, The Gambia and Sutura Sowe, WIFE Project field Coordinator, have recently visited the village of Dongoroba to discuss with the women participating in the WIFE project, the village elders as well as the entire youth of the village about the future activities of the project and to solicit their collaboration towards the continuation of the project.
The meeting which took place at the village square was attended by women representatives, the Alkalo (village head) and members of the garden committee.
Global Unification (GU) Gambia, is a youth-led research and development organization, in partnership with Earth Charter International, 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 is partly funded by Club Netherland.
Ebrima Dem, the founder of the WIFE project who also hails from the village, explained the purpose of phase 2 of the WIFE project.
According to Mr. Dem, under phase2 of the project, GU intends to erect a storage facility for the women gardeners to enable them preserve and protect their products such as tomatoes, pepper, garden eggs, lettuce, cabbage, etc. He said the women will also be trained on vegetable preservation technique such as tomato jam making as well as help them to market their produce in Serekunda. He disclosed that funding is now available to start the construction of the storage room which, he said, was generated through individual donations.
He seized the opportunity to thank the Industrial team, which is a group of 4 young people in the Netherlands, who, he said, had to ride bicycles for 208 Km and sold tomatoes for the purpose of raising funds for the project.
The founder of WIFE informed the gathering that stickers for WIFE project are now available, adding that the printing of stickers and shipping them to Gambia was volunteered by Dylan from Brazil.
For his part, Sutura Sowe, the WIFE Project Field Coordinator, thanked the women for their enthusiasm and commitment to the WIFE project which, he said, is for their best interest. He reminded the gathering that for the project to succeed everybody must have a role to play. He said while GU and 1% Club and other volunteers are doing the best they can to help, the community of Dongoroba should also do their part and in fact take the lead. He requested the village to support the project by providing labour to bring sand and gravel which will serve as the community’s contribution towards the work.
Mr. Sowe also encouraged the men of the village to help the women, noting that the project is not only benefiting the women folk but the men as well since whatever the women realized from the project will be going back to their families.
Speaking on behalf of the women garden committee, Mrs Fatou Dem said the women are always ready to ensure that the project succeeds. She said the women are working all year round both during the rainy and dry seasons in the garden. She said the WIFE project has impacted positively in the lives of the women of the village. She urged her fellow women to remain committed towards the project to avoid any failure.
She also noted some of the problems they encounter in the garden such as encroachment of animals into the garden due to poor condition of the fence at certain areas, adding that they have been provided with barbed wires by the same project for the maintenance of the fence.
Alhagie Momodou Dem, deputizing the Alkalo of the Village, thanked GU and the volunteers for their help to the village. He also thanked the founder of WIFE, in particular, for initiating such a project which, he said, is helping a lot in alleviating poverty in the village. “Alleviating women’s poverty is alleviating everybody’s poverty as women constitute a strong pillar of the family,” he said.
He concluded by making a personal commitment to repair the damage part of the garden fence as soon as possible.