Gambian Women Make Purses from Trash Bags


The women of Mandinaba, The Gambia, west Africa generate income by crocheting coin purses from strips of recycled plastic bags . To a soundtrack of Baaba Maal (from the CD Missing You (Mi Yeewnii), track: Jamma Jenngii

The Mandinaba Womens' Recycling Group is a 14-member association recently started in the small West African village of Mandinaba located in the Western Region of The Gambia. The village has an estimated population of 2,500. There are eight different ethnic groups, the majority being the Mandinka, Jola and Fula tribes.

Farming is the most common occupation for the village residents. Farmers cultivate crops including groundnuts (peanuts), millet, bananas, mangos and oranges. The village women also do gardening and produce vegetable crops including cabbage, onions, peppers and okra. These crops are then sold at local market and are the main source of income for the women. Employment opportunities for women go little beyond this with the exception of small-scale business endeavors such as soap making, fish pie, and tie/dye making. It was under these circumstances that the recycling group was formed