Gambia Girl Guides lead by example!

10 February 2014

Gambia food processing and enterpreneurshipIn the 21st century, innovation is key to survival. Living in a knowledge driven economy, livelihoods continue to be challenging. This reality opened ways for proactive steps in enhancing food security alongside our Girl Guiding activities. As part of our efforts to enhance food preservation, Gambia Girl Guides association’s skills training centre pioneered the introduction of food processing as part of its programme offerings. This opportunity for business development and entrepreneurship came at the right time in the quest to achieve sustainable livelihoods.

The Gambia is a tropical climate with over six months of rainy season each year coupled with fertile lands for cultivation of major food crops. Incidentally, there has been an overwhelming quantity of fruits such as mangoes and hot pepper supplied in abundance during the harvest season. The truth is some of these end up wasting due to excess supply and inability of the industry players to harness these opportunities beyond ordinary consumption. Against the backdrop of poverty and livelihoods challenges, the Girl Guides Skill Training Center embarked on a skills acquisition journey for young entrepreneurs on the one hand and for industry engagement on the other hand, to process food for sale.

 Post-harvest spoilage is a bad menace where income generation is made possible through food processing. Their process ensures the utilization of excess harvest and the use of modern and efficient energy to process jam from various fruits, Mangoes, tomatoes and hot pepper. Our value chain ensures sustainable means of ensuring sustainability through value additions at all stages, use of high standards of health and hygiene, top class packaging and effective storage and distribution for onward sales.

For the Girl Guides, this initiative offers sustainable means of livelihood in the absence of high paying jobs. The prospects remain considerable. The acquisition of raw materials for processing from Europe offers a challenge for this industry. So too are the demand for energy efficient stoves that are crucial in the processing of these. As an organization, they continue to strive to herald these opportunities to maximize their impact at the skills centre as well as for enterprise development.

They continue to lead by example and demonstrate that when it comes to guiding, a difference can be made in food security and sustainable livelihoods through entrepreneurial ventures that harness opportunities in food processing. As part of our efforts, we are in a position to teach local communities these initiatives to help efforts to reduce household poverty through innovation and processing. School children in rural areas will now have jam to eat with bread and increase their nutrition intake of essential vitamins and minerals contained in the healthy processed food. The effect drives further up to reduce hunger in school going communities and thus increase performance of children. They championed a new era in Girl Guiding and continue to be proactive in exploring possibilities of reducing poverty through sustainable food security approaches.