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The First Organic Garden in Gunjur

My Magazine 2023/05
5 min
Author: Ahmed Manjang
Success Foundation is a community-based Organisation founded by Mr. Ahmed Manjang in 2008 and is located at Sheikh Hatab Memorial Nursery School in Gunjur, Kombo South District, West Coast Region. Success Foundation Integrated Farms operates under the foundation, about 0.5 hectares and has been in operation since 2008.

The perimeter fence of the farm is securely fenced with cement blocks. Over the years, a lot of farming activities ranging from the planting of endangered indigenous tree species to vegetable gardening. This farm also doubles as the school garden, with our energetic mother’s club members as the chief custodians. The primary objective of the farm is to teach the mothers and the children responsibility on growing their own food and how to do it. On the other hand, the farm can contribute to the school lunch and funds by selling surplus produce to other schools and at the community market. In this way, the dependence on other sources of money will decrease and, in the end hopefully will stop any need for external support for the school lunch and fees for the students.

 

Benefits

Although the number of people who will benefit can't be quantified, the benefits and beneficiaries of this project are; 

  1. Gardening is a way to teach children and women about how the farming industry works. 
  2. It also teaches them the importance of good and nutritious food 

  3. It is vital that children learn about gardening because they might be interested to learn this and do it at home for themselves. 
  4. It will teach people the importance of biodiversity and the importance of a wide variety in the garden. 
  5. It is a good way for low-income families to save money on fruits and vegetables. 
  6. For families to grow their own food, it would also mean that people would consume more of a variety of food. 
  7. For our school, it is a great way to implement other ways of teaching for teachers and other ways of learning for students.
  8. The cost of inorganic fertilisers is prohibitive; on our farm, we produce our own organic fertiliser (compost) using organic wastes.

This venture will help the development output of the community in many ways. Vegetable production provides a promising economic opportunity for reducing rural poverty and unemployment in developing countries and is a key component of farm diversification strategies. Vegetables are mankind's most affordable source of vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Key expected outputs for this project are but not limited to; 

  1. Innovative, sustainable, locally owned and affordable approaches to vegetable production and post-harvest
  2. Sustainable increase of vegetable production in the innovative approaches run by the most vulnerable
  3. The direct household beneficiaries will be able to produce seedlings in spring, fruit and roots vegetables in summer, and leafy vegetables in winter and thus considerably increase and diversify their production throughout the year
  4. Better Accessibility to local vegetables at the crucial period (quality/ capacity storage)
  5. Nutrition amongst the most vulnerable will improve

Fifteen years after its establishment, Success Foundation Integrated Farms continues to register significant progress. However, we are confronted with some challenges. Water quality and its distribution within the farm have always been our main challenges- initially, our main source of water was well. Now we use the solar-powered submersible pump from a hand-dug borehole. We are still confronted with lots other issues such as:- 

  1. The capacity of the borehole is very low 
  2. The capacity of the submersible pump is also low 
  3. A plastic overhead tank (3000L capacity)is available, but it is far from adequate. 
  4. The pipe distribution system and number of standpipes are also inadequate 
  5. Security is another issue that bothers us

Slowly but surely, we continue to tackle these challenges one at a time while also seeking external support.

If you want to support this amazing project, contact My Gambia or Ahmed Manjang using the contacts below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ahmed Manjang
Senior lecturer, Medical Microbiology at The University of The Gambia, also Principal Medical Microbiology Lab Scientist at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital.
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