The Activistas are collecting stories from around the Gambia to understand how the food crisis is affecting people. Read the story of the women here:
Underprivileged countryside women simply do not have enough time during the day to do everything: work in their grassland and gardens which are often far distant from their homes, collect water and firewood, prepare meals, and care for the sick and elderly. There is an age-old idea in some part of the countryside that men should have more right to everything in life which means they are to have the lion share of the cake and make any final decision of any issue as they are the breadwinners and leaders of the society. Are the men still the breadwinners of the family in the food crisis?
When the Gambia declared crop failure of 2011 season I embarked on a small needs assessment in the countryside as an Activista and came to realise that many of the food crops consumed in the Gambia are produced by the underprivileged countryside women.
In many societies they are the breadwinners of their family’s providing food for the family. Even though men are around, women seem to do more to secure food for the family.
For example during this crisis many countryside women are forced to sell out their properties e.g. cows, goats, sheep, just to bring food home for the family
I made a small interview with a woman in the Lower River Region of the Gambia by the Name KUMBA DAMPHA in a village called BADUMEH KUTA.
How affected are you in this crisis?
We are directly affected by this poor rainfall. My source of income is farming and gardening, and this year I farmed three hectare grassland of rice with my family. With the little money I made from my garden I paid for labour and bought some fertilizer for the rice field hoping to have a good harvest at the end of the season. But unfortunately for me I was just able to harvest a quarter of the grassland and the rest dried up due to the drought.
We have very little food to eat we are used to three meals a day and now this has to be cut down to two. Our animals are dying due to the draught, because there is little grass for them to feed on. We are losing everything daily. I cannot send my kids to school, I cannot pay their medical bills, and I have to feed, clothe and shelter for seven people every day and care for my sick husband.
How are you feeding yourself and your family?
From the garden, but we facing lots of difficulties there too, we do not have enough water supply, pests are continuously destroying our vegetables and we cannot sell much as we have to reserve some for our family consumption - which is even another problem due to poor storage facility in our village, as some of it go bad before we can eat it.
What Do You Think Is The Solution To This Problem?
The only solution to this problem is the intervention of the Government and other agencies to come to our aid. “We are hungry, we are suffering” our families are going to bed without food and is not our fault, everyone in this country knows the contribution of we the countryside women in the socio-economic development of this country, many of us are directly responsible for the well-being of our families.
I therefore call the world to come to the aid of we the countryside women. We need food to survive, seeds for the next season, irrigation, fertilizers and good storage facilities to make sure we have food next year.
This story is made about the Lower River Region, which is not one of the local areas where ActionAid is working.