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Our Projects The Village Dankunku Information about the village and region of Dankunku

Information about the village and region of Dankunku

The village lies on the south Bank of the central River of the Gambia in the Niamina Dankunku. It has a population of about 3,500 people, 65% are women. 'Mandinkas' are the main ethnic group. Dankunku is about 10 km from the main trunk road from Soma-Basse and is reached via a small access road.

Dankunku has a public elementary school next to a small clinic, agriculture, cattle breeding  and forestry slightly. The village benefits from the project of rural water supply by the installation of standpipes at strategic locations in the community, but there is no water line connections to individual households. There is no electricity or telephone connections, this will in most parts of the community communication extremely difficult or it is very limited.

People operate in the region, both livestock breeding and agriculture. The most important monoculture in the area are peanuts. The main food crops are rice, millet and various vegetables. However, due to the low and irregular rainfall, high soil erosion, becoming less and less fertile soil, caused by lack of adequate means of production, the result for most peasant families a low level of production. There is little access to markets for the products and thus, the majority of the population can not feed their families throughout the year through. Therefore they must rely heavily on support from other family members and / or relatives who live in other areas.

The village is one of the most famous rural communities in the Gambia. A good number of people from the community was mobilized to fight in World War II. Western education was introduced in the area since 1951 and since then deliver the villagers to share their socio-economic development of the Republic of Gambia.

Dankunku beside the river has a lot of wild horses, animals. These include monkeys, bush pigs, hyenas, and until a few years, tigers and leopards that occur, however, because of the high deforestation in the area no longer exists. Yet all this could be introduced in the area with the support of appropriate projects.

Since its inception in the early 19th Century until the early 1980s, was one of the most highly Dankunku rice-producing areas of the country. Nationally, there has been a key to the bread basket of many communities in various parts of the country. The place was once a hub for farmers and traders far and wide who came from various locations within and outside the country (Banjul, Basse, Foni, Kombo, Niumi, Mali, Guinea Conakry and Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and others).

With the start of the West African drought recurring phenomenon since 1973, took the fertility of the rice ecosystem Dankunku in a rapid decline in turn, continues to this day. Clear and understandable examples of this agricultural and environmental damage are the acid and salt content of the soil, the shorter growing season and harvest, and thus diminishing the production and productivity. The loss of 'internal food security' leads to more than previously unknown occurrences of famine, and destruction of both a cultural and intellectual vitality, etc. to emigration, teenage pregnancies.

Another reason for the decline in food production and productivity, was the unfortunate and extremely costly design mistakes of the government-funded and small-scale rice development project in the community in the early 1990s. Consequently, rice production began to wane quickly. Rice and vegetable farmers in the area experienced severe drought and high salinity in their fields, who year after year led to poor harvests.

It is therefore an urgent need to ensure food security in the region in order to avoid further suffering that people experience due to poor harvests but also by the intrusion of wild hippos, which are widespread in the area. 

Dankunku has a rich cultural / traditional heritage. Culture and tradition is usually seen in this community as an important factor to promote unity, cooperation for mutual trust, understanding and cohesion among the people. The annual cultural festival is held there will always be held as "Homecoming Festival" for people from Dankunku who currently reside far away. This provides an opportunity to the families, friends, relatives and loved ones to reconnect. It also provides a challenge to the returnees, as they may contribute to the development of the community. However, this important cultural event had to present, mainly due to financial difficulties of the Youth Association (Maribantang), which is fully responsible for the conduct of such events can be set.

Dankunku has a very vibrant young population, the majority of them are girls. The majority of these young people (80%), however, pulled away after completing their school career (in search of employment opportunities) to the urban and semi-urban centers. But to return because of high unemployment and underemployment in Africa in general and thus also in the Gambia, the majority of young people ultimately find themselves in the unemployment again and therefore unable to return home, and not in a position to their parents to support agricultural activities, and to start with meaningful, productive activities for their own betterment. As a result, the most of them get frustrated and start to become involved in different forms of social vices, which then negatively affects their health and overall lifestyle. Hardest hit the female adolescents, as then, most of them are at the end always end in unwanted pregnancies and early marriages.

Because of its location, as described above, the Niamina-Dankunku district date as a whole no effective communication facilities and so there are also the people of the region, especially the youth, totally cut off in relation to the always up to, and reliable information on important developments in other parts of the country and elsewhere around the world.

These young people but has great potential for the recovery and improvement of all the lost opportunities to improve the socio-economic life of the people. With support in the field of education could be income-generating skills for the work force increased in the community. Therefore, the need for youth development in this area can not be overemphasized.

Access to basic social services like education, health, water, electricity, safe and reliable water at the household level access, good access roads, telephone services, among other crucial for the socio-economic progress of any community. Because of the distance from the highway and the capital and the poor road network, is not just Dankunku privileged to benefit from such services. Also suffering an efficient maternal and child health. The next place to transfer the emergency Bansang Hospital, about 70 km away. This increases the pressure on women of childbearing age considering its triple function (child care, different production activities and community-Pro).



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