The impact of your purchase/donation during Covid-19.

This blog entry was born out of a recent interaction we’ve had with one of the local ladies at a Gambian craft Market. Fatou Mbye (54) aka Mama M, has been in the business of making and selling jewellery made out of locally sourced and recycled materials for tourists for nearly three decades. She, as well as many other crafts people and sellers at the market, have kept their trade throughout the years of ups and downs counting on the brief tourist season (from November till May). Despite revolutions, political turmoil, being under an authoritative regime, the recent Ebola scare and so on they’ve always managed to pull through all the hardship and tough times with a smile by working hard and helping each other.

However now, Fatou -the brave and strong woman and mother of 5 children whom she has been supporting via her trade- is fearful for the future. “Look around us” she exclaimed; “Where are the tourists? Where are our customers?”. She further explained that during good seasons when the tourist markets are bustling with crowds of happy bargain hunters, she could easily afford to send her children to good schools to give them the education she’s never had. At times when trade was low due to some turmoil, she was still able to put food on the table. “Even a few years ago during the Ebola scare, when tourists were scared to come in large numbers, we at least still had the die-hard tourists who return to the Smiling Coast year after year. Now, with Covid-19, you are my first customer in 10 days!”. When I’ve asked if she had any help at all from the government or NGOs she said all traders and craftsmen have all received a one off payment of D6000 (about $115) from the government 12 months ago and nothing since then.

The purchases made though our on-line platform is paramount because we deal directly with traders and the craftsmen/women. Chosan’o provides them, their families and communities a sustainable livelihood. These unsung heroes, women like Mama M in particular, are the key driving force behind the African economy, therefore it is vital to provide them with our free platform where they can market and sell their products.

Chosan’o will always stand for this, to help those on the ground in an equitable and sustainable manner.

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