By Yankuba Jallow
Supersonicz Micro-Finance has on Wednesday, 11th January handed over 24 water reservoirs to the women garden in Mandinary Village, Kombo North.
The micro-finance company built pipe water network system in the garden and constructed the reservoirs which were handed over to the women.
Momodou Lamin Jobe, the Head of Operations took time to explain the genesis of the project. He said his institution is here to support Gambians especially those engaged in agricultural activities. He detailed that his company purchases fertilizer, seeds and other farm equipment, give it farmers and they repay it based on payment plans.
The payment mode is three months – each woman will pay D1550 as repayment fee and deposit D300 for their association’s account bringing the total to D1850 every three (3) months for each. The garden has registered over 168 members and the project is a twelve (12) months long project.
Jobe said at the end of the 12 months the women would have saved D201,600 cumulatively. The project according to Jobe is D1,041, 813.
The Chairman of the Village Development Committee (VDC), Jammeh Ceesay said the project is timely as the women have been facing several challenges at their garden. He details that water problem has been one of the biggest challenges the women were facing.
“This is actual women empowerment at its best,” he said.
He said the women gardeners used to struggle to get water for their beds.
Fa Ceesay, the Alkalo of the village thanked Supersonic for supporting the women gardeners get access to water which was their biggest challenge. He explained that the women used to face problems of intrusion by livestock and they used to sue the owners at the district tribunal, but the cases used to last for several years. He said the reservoirs will help the women access to water at ease and boost their work.
Fatou Bojang, a women representative thanked Supersonics for the support indicating that access to water was their biggest challenge. She underscored that the reservoirs would impact on their production. She told the gathering that the women gardeners depend on agriculture for their sustenance and support their families from their earnings.
She pleaded for support from institutions and agencies to support them to have electricity at the gardens. She said the electricity will substitute the solar power whenever it becomes dull on days.
The company is also building a garden in Allumhari in the Upper River Region. Seedy Camara, an official of Supersonicz said that community did not have a garden before the coming of their project. He detailed that they fence the garden, dug borehole and doing other works there.
Mustapha Drammeh, the Director of Agriculture thanked Supersonicz for their support adding the support is timely. He indicated appreciation by the Government for the initiative saying it will go a long way in addressing the challenges faced by the women gardeners. He challenged Supersonicz to replica more of such projects elsewhere.