Meet Kumba Jallow, leader of the women’s group of the Village of Dutabullu.
Kumba is the leader of the women’s group of the village of Dutabullu in the Upper Baddibu-District in The Gambia. She represents and directs all women of the village working in the community garden. The garden is irrgated by a solar pumping and watering system. There are three other villages in the Upper Baddibu-District which benefit from this type of systems providing potable water and water to irrigate a community garden. The systems were funded by the German Stiftung Sabab Lou. The whole project has reached a crucial phase now. It is intended to transfer ownership of the technical systems and the gardens to the villages. In this phase the leaders of the women’s groups play an important role. They know about their job being focussed on capacity building. If ownership is transferred to them the women themselves are in charge not only of growing and selling vegetables, but also of maintaining and repairing their system. It means to take responsibility. On November 5th we met Kumba in Dutabullu.
SL (Sabab Lou): Would you tell us something about yourself?
KJ (Kumba Jallow): My name is Kumba Jallow. I was born in another village close to Farafenni (editor’s note: Farafenni is the next bigger town to Dutabullu). I started my schooling in Farafenni in 1970 and completed my junior secondary school in 1980. After I left school in 1980, I started teaching at a nursery school in Farafenni.
In 1981 I got married and moved to Dutabullu to stay with my husband Tamba. We have ten children, seven sons and three daughters, but I lost two of my sons. Today, my youngest son is nine years old.
SL: You told us that you had opened a nursery school in Dutabullu once. What happened to the school?
KJ: I wanted to run a nursery school here in my village to help the children and the women. So I did. People were helping me but we were not strong enough. After about three years we had to stop the project. We were not having any funding. I am always sad when I see the small kids running around in the village all day, not attending any courses, just running around. But they are to young to walk all the way to Farafenni. They have to wait until they are old enough to go to primary school. Still this project is always on my mind but I don’t see the way to do it. We used to sit under the trees but there is to much dust. And sometimes horses were running in the streets freely which could have caused an accident. So I decided to stop it. Gathering children in an open space is not safe.
SL: Let’s talk about the garden project. Which impact does it have on you community?
KJ: The garden is excellent for my village. Before, there was no garden here. And if we wanted to buy even a single okra we had to pull out a lot of money. Sometimes we didn’t have that money. Now, with the garden we can grow our own vegetables, we water them, we eat some and we even sell some. This is good for our bodies and we even generate income. With that money we can support our kids, buy school uniforms and books and other things for our families. This garden is a big gift. You know, before the water came to Dutabullu, we were using local wells. The water of these wells is not safe to drink. Though for over thirty years we were using it. But since Sabab Lou came with this project we are drinking clean water. The number of kids moaning stomach pain has now decreased.
SL: I also drink the water and I am fine.
KJ: Yes, the water is so clean. We are very happy about it. You know sometimes, when there were problems with the local wells, we had to go to Farafenni to fetch water with our horse car. And the road to Farafenni can be quite bumpy. Sometimes all of our load fell down. These problems are now solved by Sabab Lou.
SL: Thank you very much Kumba for the interview.