Update April 2024–The Second Garden Project

Monika wrote from The Gambia on April 08, 2024:

From March 16 to April 10, eleven members, friends and sponsors of the association „Bützower für Gambia e. V.“ visited our friends in The Gambia.

The main aim of this trip was to enable a second garden project for around 30 women from the village of Labakoreh. To this end, we had submitted a funding application to a Nature and Environment Foundation „Stiftung Natur und Umwelt“ (NUE), which was approved shortly before our departure. It was only thanks to this money that we were able to realize the project.

Our local organizer had already had the foresight to find a solar company to build the water tower. Work began the day after we arrived in The Gambia. The work was completed within two days: the water pipes to the four water reservoirs still under construction were laid.

The women were overjoyed when the first water flowed.

Another group started building the fence. The welder in the village made the entrance gates. The work was completed yesterday.

The garden area was measured by the land registry office in our presence. The registration will take place in a few weeks.

Our association concluded an agreement with the Alkalo (mayor) and the cooperation of the women‘s the garden project, which states that the land will be made available to the women free of charge, on their own responsibility, and that no rent may be charged. For many women in the village, it is the only way to contribute independently to the family’s livelihood and generate their own income.

The official handover of the garden to the women took place on April 7. The garden will be cultivated after Ramadan, the Muslim fasting period, so that a harvest is possible before the rainy season.

We are convinced that our second Women’s Garden project will be just as successful as the first one.

24 years ago, we started to finance and maintain a nursery school, which remains the main focus of our association’s commitment in The Gambia. Five teachers and three cooks look after the children and prepare them well for school. We have now decided to grant them a salary increase. This is in the middle range for an employee in this occupational group in The Gambia. For us, this means raising 100 euros more per month in donations.

Four young people will receive support to enable them to gain a vocational qualification.

During the week in which all friends of the association were on site, we also organized the long-awaited beach party for the children, as well as the excursion for the graduating class. The sponsored families were visited and food was distributed.

During this time, we experienced real life in a country that is one of the poorest in the world. Our friends returned to Germany deeply impressed. Malve and I completed the final tasks and will fly back home in two days with heavy hearts.