Global Unification 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, Lower River Region.
Partially funded by online donation, through 1% Club Netherland, the WIFE project is a garden project being piloted in Dongoroba Village. Under this project, GU will repair the village garden fence, improve 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.
According to Madiba Sillah, the Partnership Coordinator of Global Unification, 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,” he said.
Explaining further, Madiba said that the WIFE project will also motivate women to embark on tree planting around the garden as part of their afforestation efforts.
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 work on the garden carried out so far.
He informed that within a short period, the garden has been cleared, leveled by tractor, the fence repaired and metal gated. He also explains that right now, plans are underway with the village elders to get more land to expand the size of the garden.
Dem went on to explain that also as part of project activities, by March 2012, GU 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,” he concluded.