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Fatou F Gassama and Gibril Kujabii are organic farmers and trainers who participated in the Training of Teams of Trainers (ToToT) in the Gambia. These trainings are conducted as part of the Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture in Africa (KCOA) in partnership with the Association of Farmers Educators and Traders (AFET) and Federation Nationale pour l’Agriculture Biologique (FENAB). They aim to address Capacity Development Processes for Ecological Organic Agriculture in Africa at the Continental and National Levels.

They shared their organic journey with us and their experiences at the ToToT.

👩🏿‍🌾 Fatou F Gassama

“I hear people saying that young people are not interested in agriculture but that is false! Being a 26-year-old woman, I am proof that there are young people contributing to achieving a sustainable food system and want to do more to secure a healthy future for all. Just because our stories are not widely featured does not mean we do not exist!”

Fatou F. Gassama opted to pursue a career as a trainer after completing a year-long study on organic farming as an integrated agricultural system at the Gambia Songhai initiative.

She has been teaching students, female farmers, and other young farmers how to incorporate organic principles into their farming methods since 2017 and she is still doing so. She chose to continue her studies at the Gambia College School of Agriculture, where she is currently in her third year of study, after being inspired by organic farming’s emphasis on natural methods of production.

Fatou and some of her trainees on the farm during a workshop on organic practices © Fatou

Fatou believes that organic agriculture is significant in rebuilding the soil and boosting biodiversity, and she wanted to learn ways to succinctly share this with members of her community. In addition to her studies, she decided to apply and participate in the Training of Teams of Trainers (ToToT).

Fatou learnt about concepts like the theory of change and Participatory Guarantee Systems that she is excited to dive more into and apply in her work. She continued by expressing her appreciation for the way the sessions were planned, conducted, and for fostering the participants’ individuality.

“I only wish that the training had lasted a few more days longer because we were still hungry to learn more by the time it came to an end.”

👨🏾‍🌾 Gibril Kujabii

“I appreciated that there was a space to share experiences and to learn from leading experts in organic from within and outside the Gambia. The ToToT gave me an opportunity to build on my knowledge and skill set, and now I can share these with my community.”

Gibril Kujabii is an organic farmer and trainer on organic manure production in the Gambia. He believes it is the most important type of farming today because it is a production system that sustains healthy soil, ecological system and people.

Because I don’t have to worry about ingesting chemicals that can harm me, I think organic products are tastier and healthier.

After seeing firsthand the many advantages that organic farming can have, such as increasing biodiversity and giving organic farmers like him a living, Gibril decided to join the Association of Farmers, Educators and Traders (AFET) as a trainer for organic agriculture.

Gibril’s organic farm © Gibril

AFET was founded by primarily female smallholder family farmers with the intention of fostering the economic growth of its underprivileged members, enhancing food security, and eradicating poverty. The organisation is currently working to empower women vegetable producers by promoting organic agriculture and providing them with capacity-building activities, which Gibril and his colleagues carry out.

In his role as the organic agriculture trainer at AFET, Gibril wanted to share the benefits of farming sustainably with other farmers who may want to transition to using organic practices or those who want to integrate some of them in their farming activities. He had the knowledge that he could easily disseminate. However, he wanted to learn more effective ways to train the AFET members on organic, which is why he was excited to be chosen to participate in the Training of Teams of Trainers (ToToT) in September.

“I am happy to have participated in the ToToT and I am now more confident in organic as a farming practice that benefits the whole ecosystem. My only wish is to have a ToToT that brings trainers from other countries into one space. Imagine the power that could have!” 

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