Working with women traditional communicators in The Gambia to boost local production
31 March 2023 Saikou Suwareh Jabai
Traditionally, kanyalengs are women united by problems with fertility and or child mortality. Their collective performances invert traditional female roles and are intended to ameliorate the hardships associated with the inability to meet expectations for a large family. Over time, the social roles of kanyelengs have grown. They are now renowned for their unique awareness-raising roles in the communities through songs, plays and other forms of edutainment.
In community gardens, women who are kanyelengs, - by default - continue to play their important role in entertaining women in the gardens to work harder and more importantly, use comedy and music to raise the awareness of the gardeners on best agronomic practices.
In recognition of their unique role in the community, the West Africa Competitiveness Programme in The Gambia (WACOMP-GM) by 20 kanyelengs received a 2-day long training on best post-harvest management practices and messaging development. The training was facilitated by the European Union-funded and was held at Soma, Lower River Region in August 2022.
The project works with the kanyelengs in the gardens to develop their capacities and assigns them as goodwill ambassadors of the project. The objective of the training was to contribute to raising awareness of the project and its key messages through these unique traditional communicators.
As part of the training, the kanyelengs developed awareness-raising messages in songs, comedy and drama to reinforce the already-existing efforts to sensitize farmers and raise public awareness on WAOMP-GM’s objectives and approach to reduce postharvest losses and to promote competitiveness in the marketing of onion and allied horticultural products.
Malamin Drammeh, WACOMP-GM’s National Horticulture Value Chain Expert noted that the training will help the project to develop the capacities of onion growers in the regions and consequently boost local production quality and compliance.
A participant, Nyima Jawneh, expressed thanks to WACOMP-GM for their participation in the implementation of the project. “Aside from our roles as communicators, we are onion growers too. The knowledge gained will greatly help us to improve our postharvest and local production handling practices and also share the knowledge and experience with our audience,” she said.
As part of the training, a selection of participants moderated a radio talk show on Soma Community Radio where they shared lessons learned and sensitized the audience on best practices in post-harvest handling of onions.