The Charitable Travel Fund supported the United Purpose AFFA Women and Girls For the Future group and twenty-two other women’s groups of market gardeners in Guinea, West Africa, to protect and rebuild their livelihoods following Covid-19 and diversify their customer base, which includes tourism hotels and restaurants currently heavily impacted by the pandemic. The hotels and restaurants are in Conakry and Coyah (close to Conakry), including in the tourist destinations of Soumba Waterfalls, Koba Lake and Kakoulima Hills which have waterfalls and are popular for hiking.
Money raised, as part of The Charitable Travel Fund, helped this community to;
The whole project required £25,000 in funding in three phases which ran in sequence, so we could start helping as soon as our supporters pledged donations.
Our project delivery partner for the Guinea market gardeners was United Purpose, a movement of people and organisations that strive to end poverty and inequality across the globe, moving people beyond aid. They have over 40 years’ experience of supporting communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America to address poverty and inequality, working through community-led projects that are at the centre of everything they do. United Purpose take an integrated and holistic approach believing the problems that people face, such as low income, not enough food and denial of rights, are all interrelated. United Purpose implemented the project in Guinea with grant support from the Charitable Travel Fund.
Can you describe yourself?
I am Christine Coma, the President of AFFA [women’s group]. I have a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Right now, next to my gardening activities, I’m producing cakes that I sell.
How has Covid-19 affected your business and family?
Covid-19 resulted in a loss of income for AFFA members in the sense that we had planted market gardening products whose harvest corresponded with the closure of the cities following the state of emergency. Much of the produce could not be sold and became rotten, or was given free of charge to those in need from the community.
How did AFFA came up with the idea for this project?
United Purpose has been supporting AFFA for more than a year, particularly in training and consulting, resulting in the effective start-up of our agricultural activity. We were close to reaching our goals. This harvest would have allowed us to take the first steps towards empowerment. We contacted United Purpose who decided, given the magnitude of the problem, to give us a boost in order to restart our activity with a training package, equipment and agricultural advice, which will support AFFA and subsequently all the peripheral women’s groups.
What will be the impact of this project will be if we can get funding for it?
This project will ensure the economic recovery of all our activities and will ensure our autonomy and, in fact, that of all of the peripheral women’s groups. It will allow us to go further and become self-reliant. We will master all the steps: from planting to reaching customers. We hope to increase our revenues and be able to share it with the other groups around us.
What is your vision for AFFA in the future?
Our goal is to empower all the women in the group [AFFA] so that they can then hire more women in order to start their own businesses and become self-sufficient. That is our long-term vision.