GambiaHELP supports sustainable projects. Most often these are “sustainable businesses” run by “kaffos” or the women’s groups in villages throughout the country. Many West African villages have women’s groups that find the time and the energy to meet, to work together and try to plan for a better life for themselves and their daughters. We provide training and initial supplies to get these projects going. The intention is that the projects will be self supporting and continue to be managed and expanded by local women’s groups.
Soap Making and Decorative Fabrics
Sustainable projects like soap making and decorative fabrics like tie-dye and batik are excellent projects for women’s groups. GambiaHELP provides training for the group and initial supplies to get it started. The women can readily sell their creations, purchase more materials and use profits to support other village projects and needs. These sustainable projects can be started for as little as $500-$1000.
Yarn Grows to Shoes and Backpacks
When we empower women, we empower families. In the village of Banjulinding, we funded a micro-enterprise for a women’s cooperative: With donated yarn, the women learned how to crochet, knit, make shoes and sew clothing. Today they are making backpacks, shoes, handbags and clothes, and have encouraged the local youths to join them. With the older women as mentors and advisers, the girls are now taking the lead. We are still working to help them gain business skills and learn to promote their products in the local tourist industry.
Mosquito Bed Nets
A very successful sustainable project has been creating mosquito bed-nets. In a country where malaria is everywhere, especially during the rainy season, bed-nets provide valuable protection for children and adults against malaria. GambiaHELP provides training, sewing machines, and materials to create these nets.
As with all GambiaHELP projects, these sustainable projects require the support of the village and they must supply 25% of the project costs in buildings, land, or labor. With sewing projects, this is especially important as the machines must be protected from the weather and supplies must be stored safely and in such a way that they will not be damaged.
Rice Milling Machine
An ongoing problem in rural parts of The Gambia has been the extensive number of hours required to plant, harvest and prepare rice for both meals and trade. The burden of these activities has traditionally fallen on the women and children of rural villages. It is not uncommon for women to spend up to 16 hours in the rice fields and an additional four hours preparing meals for their families. This demand on their time does not allow the women to engage in economic activity or to plan for their daughters’ educations. In addition, as a result of this labor intensive activity most women are forced to exist in a non-monetary economy.
The objective of this project was to alleviate the arduous workload of the women of Dankunku village by purchasing a rice milling machine. The village provided land for the milling machine and built the secure building where the machine could be housed. Local men run the machine and receive the chaff from the processing as fertilizer for their fields. Women can come and have their rice milled. One tenth of the rice milled is stored by the women’s group to support villagers during the hungry season.
The milling machine increased the earning capacity of the women’s group by reducing the time they spend on processing rice and improving their health status. The training provided through this project enables the women to better manage income from processing rice using the machine and to engage in other sustainable projects.
Please contact GambiaHELP for additional information on giving opportunities. firstname.lastname@example.org 206-523-6924.
GambiaHELP is recognized by the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) charitable/educational organization, so your contributions are tax-deductible.