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Better roads for a better life; the impact of Envelope A on Jerri Kaw Wollof community

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The European Union funded Agriculture for Economic Growth Project referred to as Envelope A, may have ended, but the impact it has on the lives of people is profound. A case in point is Jerri Kaw Wollof, a remote community in the North Bank Region.

Before Envelope A, getting around was challenging; bad roads meant long walks or horse carts just to reach the highway, let alone dealing with emergencies like getting to the hospital in time for pressing and urgent medical treatment.

“The road was a nightmare. We had to walk for kilometres or rely on horse carts just to reach the highway. It was especially challenging during emergencies like when someone needed urgent medical attention” reflects Katim Touray, the village Alkalo.

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The impact of the project on Jerri Kaw Wollof has brought immense relief to the daily lives of community members, like Papa Njie, the local driver who endured countless repairs on his vehicle due to the harsh road conditions. “I used to spend a fortune repairing my car because of the terrible roads. It was heartbreaking to see people suffering, especially pregnant women who sometimes ended up delivering in my car while rushing to the hospital,” recalls Mr. Njie.

These challenges were once a stark reality for the community, but thanks to the project, things have turned around quite well! They have paved the way with a new road, cutting travel time and making life easier for everyone. Since then, people can come and go as they please, boosting economic activity and even welcoming small cars to the area! “Now, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The road is smooth, and people can get to where they need to go without fear. It’s a remarkable transformation,” expresses Mr. Njie reflecting the newfound sense of relief and optimism shared by many in Jerri Kaw Wollof.

As one of the farming communities around Farafenni, people in Jerri Kaw Wollof were challenged to sell their farm produce at weekly lumos, because they were getting to the market late, due the condition of the road linking the community to the main road. Usually, they will arrive when the market is already flooded with similar produce from other communities. With the new feeder road, farmers can now get to the Farafenni weekly market as early as 07:00 am to partake in wholesale marketing, before the retailing commence in late morning, and could return to their homes to continue with other chores. Furthermore, vendors now travel to the community, buy farm produce and transport these produce to the market daily.

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The community also said goodbye to pests and disasters ruining their harvest all thanks to the EU-funded project, which was also implemented by FAO, Jerri Kaw Wollof now has a massive seed store to keep their produce safe, mainly grain. They no longer risk it all in-home storage. However, for the sustainability of the store, using this facility is not free, one must pay a sum of money to keep their produce in the store.

“Our lives have changed for the better. Now, we can come and go as we please, store our proceeds for as long as necessary,” expresses a relieved community member Abdoulie Touray.

However, sustainability comes at a cost, as utilizing the facility requires a nominal fee. Despite this, the benefits far outweigh the expenses, as the community now enjoys enhanced economic opportunities and greater resilience in the face of agri-food systems challenges.

It is incredible how a road and a seed store can transform so many lives. Community leaders and residents expressed immense gratitude for the opportunities FAO and donors brought to their community.

For more information please contact:

Etheine Sylva| [email protected] +220 3553458

This news release was issued by the FAO Gambia Office  

http://www.fao.org/gambia/en

Twitter: @FAOgambia

Facebook: FAO Gambia

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