Fatou Touray

Go Green Gambia, Go Gambian Women: Green energies and women entrepreneurs

Fatou shows her processed products to customers

Stories about Women, Entrepreneurs, Environment & Green Energies, Sustainability by Fatou Touray

My whole life, I have watched women around me struggle and work day in day out to put food on the table; I have watched them go to farms and work hard to send their kids to school, I have watched them farm, sell crops to earn money to provide for other family needs. 

The one activity women of the Gambian community are extensively involved in is vegetable farming. Most of these women never had the opportunity for formal education, which is one of the reasons why their hope for living is centered around agriculture, something you don’t need a formal education to get started. 

Covid 19 has had a significant impact around the world; the world as a whole was affected. However, the less privileged financially and economically faced a more substantial effect. Below is a photo of a group of women farmers in the village where I was born. The photograph was taken during a gathering that was held on my request from the village head, locally known as the ‘alkali. He gathered these women and asked about their needs when it comes to the seeds they grow in their farms. The initiative came about last year in August 2020 when a Turkish entrepreneur, who resides in the Netherlands, wanted to support women from my community with seeds for their farming activities.

August 6, 2020. The alkali (the village head) in front of the women farmers at the Bantaba in Samba Tacko Village Upper River Region, The Gambia.
August 6, 2020. The alkali (the village head) in front of the women farmers at the Bantaba in Samba Tacko Village Upper River Region, The Gambia.

Unfortunately, due to the covid crisis, he couldn’t travel to Turkey to get the required seeds these women mentioned they needed for their farms; this is just one of the many impacts covid19 has on social functioning and growth. Now we can begin to wonder and imagine if covid 19 could stop these women from receiving something that could contribute and make a big difference in their lives; what else has it done that was never known or written about? In today’s mainstream media world, where only big stories from big countries get to hit the front pages or screens of media platforms, how about the rest of the world? Where are their voices? How can we make sure their voices matter and spread to reach the required audiences it should. I am happy to share this story, which could help inspire other similar stories that never got the opportunity to be told. I believe no story is big or small as far as it holds a social impact, regardless of where it originates from. This story is an example of many other stories where people have problems or issues that need attention, but they don’t have a voice or the right platforms to channel it to reach the right people that could contribute to the change they require. Imagine I never met this entrepreneur. Imagine I didn’t take up the responsibility to gather these women and ask about their struggles in their farming activities. I would have maybe never gotten to the next story about how my entrepreneurial mindset came about;

The above story, among other personal reasons, motivated me as a young Gambian woman to start looking at entrepreneurship from a different perspective. I started working on a project called GO GREEN GAMBIA. I never had the time or space to think in-depth about this business idea until the Covid crisis; I had more time to reflect on what I am passionate about, what is needed in society, and how I can contribute to arriving at that goal. Even though the Covid had its negative impacts, it was also a moment we could all use to think about the world and everything around us. I could wake up every day, and the idea became more evident than it ever was; there were not many distractions around me, which was an opportunity for me to dive deeper into the thought process of what I wanted to do for my community in The Gambia. The project focus on horticultural(vegetable) production and marketing in The Gambia, and its primary goals are empowering women, food security, and community development and sustainability. I had the opportunity to introduce it to one of my online courses at Webster University Leiden Campus in August 2020, which happens to fall during the covid crisis. I have never been this enthusiastic about anything as much as this project. It further motivated me to conduct qualitative research on the same topic, same community; that is how passionate I am about the whole idea. I hope someday I will write about how many lives of farming women in The Gambia I have developed and sustained. 

From a development perspective, as I envision being an entrepreneur, I believe it is essential to start with places that contribute to building up who I am, the same community, The Gambian community. Until now, the project is only on paper; I am yet to put it to work in practice, which I aim to begin at the end of this year provided that I could raise funds required to start.

Other voices that contributed to shaping this project;

  • Sukai Ceesay (A professor at Webster Leiden Campus) is the first person who gave me the opening to introduce the topic in class and had other students work on it. 
  • Charlene Lambert (A professor Webster Leiden Campus)
  • Some Webster Leiden Campus Students
  • Webster Leiden Campus as an institution

Nice to meet you

Contact us:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Powered by Kagin's consulting
Designed by MI design