Reducing Women’s Poverty Level through Climate-Smart Agricultural Community Development
Started in 2011, WIFE trains Gambian women in climate-smart agriculture, garden management, entrepreneurship and life-skills development. This project is currently piloted in Dongoroba Village of the Lower River region of The Gambia.
This project seeks to address the challenges of poverty and social exclusion of women in the Gambia through gardening and social enterprise activities. In the case of Dongoroba, the WIFE project is working with women and men to rebuild a once abandoned community garden.
“I grew up in a community where women had minimal access to the most basic form of education and are denied land ownership rights,” says Ebrima Dem, WIFE’s project leader. “Through this project we’re turning these same women into entrepreneurs.”
Phase 1 of WIFE was a success, having trained 300 women in gardening management and entrepreneurship, re-fenced the garden and tilled it, put a metal gate for it and provided the women with seeds. The women also learned about garden management skills and tomato jam making.
The innovative climate-smart agricultural training moreover gave the women the skills and techniques to make their agricultural activities part of the solution to the negative impacts of climate change.
Overall, over 700 women and family members in the village are directly benefiting from the improved garden, experiencing a reduction in the level of poverty. For women who want to realise their entrepreneurial dream, up to 85 women in Dongoroba Village will be given start-up capital to begin small-scale businesses in their community.
The pilot is at the moment funded through 1%CLUB, an online crowdfunding organisation based in The Netherlands. WIFE also receives some of its volunteers through this organisation, where members sign up to offer their skills.
The project has big plans for this July 2013. Phase 2 intends to construct a storage room, which will help reduce produce spoilage and provide an open space that serves as a stall. The women will receive further training in vegetable conservation techniques and marketing skills, as well as establish the Dongoroba Women Farmers Association.
WIFE is still seeking more donations and volunteers to make phase 2 possible. Information on this project can be found right on their 1%CLUB page, http://1procentclub.nl/projects/WIFE2.