The global population for Niamina West and Dankunku stands at 12,503 living in 61 villages.
It was in 2008 that ActionAid expanded its interventions in these parts of Niamina. The principal objectives of our expansion to Niamina West are to fight and eradicate poverty and its injustices.
The lessons learnt and the experiences gained in Development Area (DA) 8 also encouraged ActionAid to open DA 11.
The new DA intended to implement ActionAid's country strategy paper, with its slogan, Rights to End Poverty, and to also to serve as a learning point for ActionAid's future direction with regards to policy and advocacy, lobbying and influencing through its thematic areas.
In 2008, ActionAid commissioned a study in Niamina West district, the results of which revealed the situation of poverty in the district.
Poverty is widespread, with more than than two thirds of 497 sampled households classified as either very poor or poor.
These households also have low food production capacity due to lack of resources, irregular and inadequate meals, dependence on small scale farming and unskilled labour as sources of household income – they also live in temporary and dilapidated houses.
The population is predominantly female and a considerable part of the population is youthful. A majority of the people, especially women and girls are illiterate. However, the society remains highly patriarchal with men being most household heads. Many are polygamous families.
Crops grown vary from groundnuts, used basically as a cash crop and rice as a means of subsistence. Other crops are early millet, maize and now watermelons.
About 27% of the total population of the sampled households can read and write in any of the three major languages (Mandinka, Wolof and Pullar) – around 38.6% of these were females.
The frequent shortage of essential drugs at the facilities and the frequent lack of diesel for the ambulance causes some worries to people in the district. There is only one minor health centre and 5 outreach centres in the district of Niamina West and Dankunku combined.
Given the widespread poverty in the district, communities and household are liable to various adverse conditions resulting from any changes of situations and factors around them. For example, because of the nature of buildings in the district (many people can only afford thatched roof buildings) there are often a lot of fire incidences - burning houses and properties. Changes in rainfall pattern also affect agricultural production and thus the livelihoods of many in the district.
For many, the conditions of women are not a course for concern. It is evident that whilst women work harder, they remain the poorer. Society is still highly patriarchal.
Early and forced marriages remain issues. Decision making and power relations are still tilted in favour of men and boys and their development in society.