Villagers in Dassui are so pleased with the market gardening project that they started in early 2009, that they already want to extend the project, and bring more of their neighbours into the scheme. 41 villagers are members of the ‘Wenden Kondo’ (‘God Will Provide) group, and have produced harvests of onions, cabbage, carrots, chilli, garlic and other vegetables from the plot, which is currently planted with rice and other grain for the rainy season.
Participants received training in horticultural production and in group management from Self Help Africa’s local partners, ADDECOL (Action for the Development of Municipalities and Communities), and were provided with vegetable seed, gardening tools and funding support for a water supply and fencing. Vegetables which they grew in the market gardening site have been used both locally and sold in the market in nearby Bitte, with members earning on average 100,000 West African Francs (€150) per person from the sale of produce.
Group secretary Zungrana Awaya, who is one of 20 women members of Wenden Kondo, says the enterprise has provided a valuable source of income for her family. Having returned last year from Ivory Coast, where she had unsuccessfully tried to get work with her husband as migrant labourers and roadside traders, Zungrana Awaya says that the market gardening enterprise has opened up new opportunities for her in Dassui.
‘I was born in this village, but I left because there did not seem to be any way for me to make a living. My own son, who is 17, is now saying that he wants to leave because he has few prospects of work,’ she says. ‘Maybe the garden can create new opportunities. It is new, but we are hopeful that it can will grow.’
Delphine Gampini, the local co-ordinator of ADDECOL, says that the community in Dassui have been very enthusiastic about the project since it started, and from the outset have wanted to make the most of their opportunity. ‘When we started, there was a plan to fence off and cultivate a two acres plot. Before the work began, the compound had been increased to three acres, even though the sum that was available to invest in the work had not changed.’
‘Because there was a real desire to develop this market gardening enterprise, the local community hand dug the wells themselves, erected the fencing, and did virtually all of the manual labour,’ she says.The Dassui market garden is supporting upwards of 400 people in the local community.