Gambia: Kanila Women Gardeners Call for Gov't Intervention


The women gardeners of Kanilai village in the Foni Kansala District of the West Coast Region, have been hit by water shortage crisis and urgently call for government intervention.

By Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh & Mustapha Jallow

This medium was able to speak to some of the affected women who were found inside an incomplete market, selling their vegetables. They described their frustration on their current predicaments and expressed their concerns about the water crisis in the village and their garden. It was observed that the small market where the said women are doing business by selling vegetables, is an incomplete building. This made many to wonder how the 22 year rule of the former president who is also a native of the village, did not bring such an important social amenity to the women of Kanilai. The women indicated that they will welcome any project that comes to assist them complete their market and solve the village water crisis.

Expressing her concern over the crisis in their garden, Mrs. Kaddy Nyassi, a vendor and gardener said the women of the village face serious challenges with their daily survival. She lamented how the water shortage affects their earning capacity noting as their business is taking a nose dive.

"There is a well at the garden which is very deep and being an old woman without support, I cannot pull water from this well. This has increased our burden and suffering as women gardeners," Mrs. Nyassi Lamented.

Mrs. Jariatou Jammeh, a gardener and market vendor also described the challenges and suffering they have been going through in the village as a result of the water shortage. She said women gardeners in the village are faced with the most challenging moments in their lives, since the termination of water supply to their village.

"We do not know why the new government is abandoning the women of Kanilai but we assure them that even if former President Jammeh does bad or committed crimes, that doesn’t mean we the people of the village should be punished for what he has done. We continue to call on the authorities to urgently come to our aid and help us access to water since it is the main source for human survival," she said.

Mrs. Jammeh and Aja Ndey Jarju also highlighted the same concerns like all the previous speakers and that is the lack of water and their unfinished market. They said that their earnings come from their small gardens. She disclosed that now a ‘cash power’ meter has been put up to supply them with water but she said someone who cannot sustain her survival cannot afford such as it would be so expensive for them.

The Alkalo of Kanilai, Ebrima Jammeh alias Ebou, said the water crisis is not only a concern for the gardeners but also a major headache for the entire community. He however narrated that when electricity goes off, they suddenly lack water in the taps. We will not reject any assistance from anyone who will come to our aid because we need it at this material time.

The representative of Foni Kansala in the National Assembly, Hon. Musa Amul Nyassi, said he is not aware of the crisis but would take a tour of the constituency on Saturday 17 June, to reach out to the women gardeners and the Alkalo of Kanilai, and discuss with them.

It has been observed by this reporter that the crops in the garden have wilted and dried because of lack of water and animals use the dry plants as fodder.

When contacted to shed light on the crisis in Kanilai village, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of Gambia National Water and Electricity Company, Mr. Pierre Sylva, said he is not aware but advised the complainants to go NAWEC and lodge their problems rather than through a news reporter.