Almost every village in The Gambia has an Alkalo (head of the village) and a ViDeCi (Village Development Committee). The ViDeCi exists of multiple sub committees that keep the village functioning. One of these committees is the Garden Committee, that takes care of the functioning of the community garden. In the community garden, women from the village grow fruits and vegetables in order to provide the village of fresh products that they do not have to buy at the market. The chairmen (members) of the ViDeCi are usually chosen by the villagers. Subsequently, the chairmen chose the members of the Garden Committee. Every few years, the Garden Committee exists of different people and being in this committee gives people a high status.
The Garden Committee and our project
We expect that the Garden Committee is quite interested in the project as well as the kafo Yampi and that they would like to place the solar dryer under their supervision. The Garden Committee and the kafo’s do not always have the same priorities, which can cause friction. In this village it has happened before that the Garden Committee had a surplus of money while a kafo needed money. Although it all concerns people from the same village, the kafo could not get money from the Garden Committee.
This information is obtained by interviewing Barbara Somers, supervisor of the Solar Dryer project in The Gambia.