Guinea: Youth group builds clinic, mosque, market and school (by Ibrahima Sory Cissé, for Farm Radio Weekly in Guinea-Conakry)
Date Posted: July 23rd, 2012
N’Faly Kaba is the president of a youth group called Koninko. The name is taken from the river that surrounds Morigbèya, a village of 670 people located 600 kilometres east of Guinea’s capital, Conakry. Mr. Kaba and the 47 other members of Koninko have taken the fate of the village into their own hands. The group used the profits from farming to finance basic services for the village, including a market. Mr. Kaba talks about the motivation of the group: “We saw that some improvements were needed: there was no school, no clinic or mosque, and no place of entertainment for youth. We were concerned by the condition of our ancestors’ land.”
As Mr. Kaba explains, the group was established in order to use their farming skills to develop the village. The first step was to bring together youth around the project. Then the young people began looking for land. Sidi Kaba, the representative of Morigbèya’s traditional landowner, made 25 hectares of land available to the group. The young people developed a farming plan which took into account their family responsibilities. Ousmane Kaba is chairman of Koninko. He explains that the young farmers devote Sunday to working on their group fields. They divide the rest of their farming week between work on their family farms and work on their individual farms. When there is extra work to do on the group farm, they take time away from their private fields.
The group has changed Morigbèya. Ansoumane Condé is treasurer of Koninko and very proud of its achievements. He says, “Our organization has revolutionized life in the village. Everything you see that’s been done in the village is the work not of one person, but a collective effort. ”
Most of the group’s harvest is sold. A bag of rice sells for 200,000 Guinean francs (about $28), and a bag of peanuts for 250,000 (about $35). But this money is not simply profit for the members to freely use. Every member agrees to invest money in community projects. For example, with the harvest money, the group pays the salary and food for the community health worker. Koninko also supports one of the two teachers who are not supported by the state.
Village residents are grateful to the group. Treasurer and resident Ansoumane Condé says, “The soils are rich and do not need chemical fertilizers for good harvests. Thanks to the earth, our children will not know the same fate as ourselves.”