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Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Wassu garden provides for women in community

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The women of Wassu have seen their lives changed profoundly thanks to the FAO’s implemented Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change Project (AACCP). The community now benefits from a well-equipped garden serving over 100 people. This five-hectare garden, fenced with a chain link, includes a multipurpose centre, a solar irrigation system, and 24 reservoirs. When we arrived, we found the women diligently weeding their crops, which were almost ready to flower, a testament to their dedication and the project’s success.

This intervention has not only alleviated their daily struggles but also improved their livelihoods and ensured food security for their community, but in the past, the women faced immense challenges. They had to dig wells, which often failed to provide sufficient water for their vegetables.

The physical toll of drawing water left them exhausted, with little time for household chores or proper rest. “We barely slept or managed our homes because drawing water was so painful and time-consuming,” recalls Fatou Ceesay, one of the garden’s members. The arrival of the solar irrigation system has revolutionised their daily routine. “Now, with the reticulation system, watering our crops is easy and efficient. We are deeply grateful to FAO and AACCP for this intervention,” Fatou adds.

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The garden produces a variety of leafy vegetables, including lettuce, spinach, onion, and cabbage. Each woman contributes 100 Dalasis after every harvest, amounting to 200 Dalasis annually. “From each bed, we harvest two bags of onions. With 100 women each managing nine beds, the yield is substantial,” explains Awa Jallow, another member of the cooperative. This systematic contribution has helped them save a significant amount of money, ensuring the garden’s sustainability.

The project has also focused on diversifying agriculture in Wassu. The community received two power tillers, beehives for beekeeping, a cockerel exchange, a milling machine, livestock exchange, and seed supplies for the garden. These additions have not only generated income but also made protein more accessible to Wassu and surrounding areas. “The beekeeping initiative has provided us with quality honey, and the cockerel exchange has improved our poultry farming,” says Mariama Bah. “This diversified approach ensures that we have multiple streams of income and resources.”

Sustainability plans are firmly in place to keep the garden operational and prosperous. “We have saved up a substantial amount from our contributions and sales,” notes Binta Drammeh. “This will ensure that we can maintain the garden and continue to support our families and community.” The leadership training, compost making, and record-keeping skills provided by the project have empowered the women to manage the garden effectively and plan for the future.

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The community has nothing but praise for the FAO and the AACCP. “This project has transformed our lives and our community,” says Aji Njie, the garden’s coordinator. “We can now provide for our families, improve our diets, and save for the future. The training and resources we have received are invaluable.”

The women of Wassu have now overcome their previous hardships and have also created a thriving, self-sustaining agricultural hub that benefits everyone involved.

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