One of the oldest villages in The Gambia, Kartong is in the extreme south of the country tucked inland just beyond the reaches of the lapping waters of the Atlantic. Beyond Kartong there is only an immigration post, a small hamlet and fishing centre before the Halahein River and Casamance, in southern Senegal. Kartong is a pleasant town, which has always been famous amongst Gambians because of its sacred crocodile pool. Today it is also the centre of the sand-mining industry in The Gambia.
We visited Senegambia Oyster Women Association in Kartong. While men fish, this industry is completely dominated by women who, besides harvesting the oysters, are also involved in conservation efforts. Women are going to the river to harvest oysters, boil it and sale it. The shells are burned to produce white lime, which is sold for use in construction.
If you want to have a closer look into daily life and work of Kartong women, and at the same time give back, you can go to the harvesting area with them, participate in the boiling process, help them to fund capacity building training and much more. Gloves, water shoe and second-hand clothes can be a great gift for them.
Many members of society are contributing to village development, associations progress and environment issues, like Mr. Mustapha Manneh.
Born in 1991 in Kartong southern Gambia. Mustapha Manneh is an International journalist and environmental activist specialising in China Africa Relations. He is the founder and CEO of Their Voice Must Be Heard., Editor in Chief Kartong Weekly News and Chief Consultant at Green Consultant Gambia.
Mustapha has gained popularity for himself as one of those environmental champions campaigning against Chinese fishmeal factories.
In 2018, Mustapha was invited by Greenpeace International at their AGM in Dakar as guest speaker on a topic China Africa Relations and Activism.
ABOUT SENEGAMBIA OYSTER WOMEN ASSOCIATION
After years of working on farmlands and garden which have been all later destroyed by sand mining and unsustainable activities, we shift our attention to any other lucrative business oyster farming which was mainly practice by few. Through the support of other experts, we were able to bring ourselves under one umbrella. Since the starting of the association, tremendous success has been achieved. The association was able to help each in time of need. During the period from March till beginning of the raining reason a lot of women are harvesting oysters and cockles in the Halahin River. A lot of women are a part of the occupation and five villages around the Halahin River are involved:
– Kartong with more than 60 women involved
– Niafurang 30 women (Senegal)
– Katack 40 women (Senegal)
– Kabajo 50 women (Senegal)
– Berending 10 women
If you want to spend some days in Kartong, you can contact Mustapha. His consultancy agency is a partner with lodges and guestrooms in the area for affordable price for visitors.