At the end of March 2019, a small team from SHOAW Gambia visited the village of Mamuda in the West Coast Region to conduct a Needs Assessment. It was quickly apparent that we needed to conduct programming in the village.
On April 22nd, SHOAW travelled to the village again with supplies and curriculum for the day to speak to the women and girls in the village.
We focused on reproductive health, menstrual health, teenage pregnancy, and the importance of education with them throughout the morning. We hope that the outcome is that the girls will stay in school longer and know their rights, as well as how to say no.
After a lunch break, the women of the community gathered to have a talk with us about the needs of the village that are most pressing. Two major red flags were raised: there is no clean water in the community and boys/men do not help with anything in the village or in their homes.
After the afternoon session was over, we donated sanitary pads to all the girls and women who took part in the program. They were very grateful for our visit, and the pads, and they wanted us to continue working with them.
We are planning to go back to do more work with the community, we know we need to do work with the boys and men of the community and are planning to have two girls become SHOAW ambassadors for their village with monthly meetings.
Overall the day was run well, although the girls were not completely honest with us. This will change over the course of future visits and as we continue to build a relationship with them.
Our future plan is to work on a curriculum for the boys and men, develop a value chain analysis for the cashews in the community, and to look for funding to streamline projects and impact more communities.