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Social Innovation

Impressions from The Gambia

Fem­coops – The Jambarr Women Of Africa

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In the village of Sami madina in CRR in The Gambia, with mostly women farmers looking after 50 hectares of land, its harvest time!

Each year they grow fonio, groundnut, millet and cassava. They save the millet for food and the money they earn from the fonio and cassava harvest pays for rice, cooking oil and other supplies. Following a good harvest depending on a good rainy season, their food stock will provide supply until next season, usually with basic rationing two months prior to the end of the season.

One of the biggest challenges is the loss of their cash crop, such as the fonio through processing and a poor rainy season leading to minimal yields of millet and cassava yields.

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In the capital city of Banjul we meet Jal Yassin of JAL’s Enterprise she is a food processor working with a group of women from her home. She gets all her supply from the farmers in the villages like Sami Madina their plights and stories are similar as with the rest of the sub region.

Sami Madina

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Sami Madina is a farming village with an estimated population of 500 located in the Central River Region (CRR) of The Gambia. Its main source of income is the farming and trading of the fonio crop, it produces annually an estimated three tones of fonio based on a 55 hectare farm owned by a women’s cooperative. The village also has a vegetable garden that grows cassava and sweet potatoes.

The village’s main water supply and farming irrigation is based on drawing water from dug out wells hence unsafe for drinking due to a high risk of waterborne diseases and also not efficient to irrigate a 55 hectare farm. F&OT is working on a water and sanitation program for Sami Madina that will result to an installation of solar powered boreholes for both the village and the farm and also on an irrigation system for the farm which will enhance water safety and supply for both the village and the farm and projected to double their fonio crop yields.