Schools For Gambia

Women’s Projects For Self-Sufficiency

A couple of sewing machines and rolls of material which were donated to one of the women’s self-help groups.

Recently, women in many Gambian villages have taken it upon themselves to form organised self-help groups, with a committee, and a joint bank account. These groups of women set up small businesses, such as vegetable cultivation, production of soap and soap powder, dyeing of cloth (local ‘tie-dye’ designs), and the manufacture of school uniforms and other essential clothing. These businesses are very successful, as they all involve goods that are needed constantly by the local villages - (the vegetables are also vital for a healthy diet). The women’s committee makes sure that the profits from these small enterprises are used for the good of the local community, especially for the school children. For example, profits would be used to buy exercise books, pencils, pens and other stationery, text books, library books, and sport/art/science equipment.

We have visited many villages where these women’s groups exist, and have seen that they are run very well, and are extremely successful. The women take great pride in their businesses, and in the fact that their work is bringing long awaited self-sufficiency to the villages of The Gambia.

The power and success of the women’s groups is a vital step forward as regards improvement in living standards for the Gambian people. We support these groups by putting a one-off payment into the women’s joint bank account (the amount of money varies from £50 to £150, depending on the size of the village) which is to enable them to set up their businesses in the beginning, and from then on they are able to sustain the businesses through their own efforts.

We would most gratefully welcome any donations towards these women’s self-sufficiency projects, and of course we always supply our donors with feedback ref. What success the women have achieved.