New beginnings

Publish date 18-05-2023

by Mauro Palombo

Many solidarity initiatives in Guinea Conakry

The Sermig development initiatives in Guinea Conakry are fourteen years old. Born from the encounter with a small local congregation, the Soeurs de Nôtre Dame de la Guinée, through Mère Renée Boiro: a minute emblem of enthusiasm in the faith, always close to her people, with the charisma of "opening paths" to Providence. Expression of a small, simple Church, listened to and well liked for its closeness; and in an open relationship with the Muslim majority.

The scenario of this corner of Africa is harsh. Since the traumatic decolonization, with the country isolated for a long time, the political history is limited to authoritarian governments. Here too we experience the ruthless paradox of a great wealth of mineral resources – the world's second largest producer of bauxite, then diamonds, iron… – which leaves many in poverty, despite abundant fertile lands and with international importers only interested in the continuity of supplies. Guinean society is very young - over half under 25 - but it is struggling to become elderly, with a life expectancy of only 54 years. Modest literacy and vocational training; they do not help to react to the crises triggered by epidemics, pandemics, international conflicts, causes of further food insecurity.

The by now many micro-projects created, want to represent "a beginning" of something new, together with those who take care of the poor. Through repeated mailings of materials, cutting and sewing workshops have been opened led by women's associations, schools and the Catholic University have been supported, equipping the classrooms of the Computer Science Department, community gardens and dispensaries in rural areas have been supported. Drilled a well on the outskirts of the capital.

Always with a particular eye on women, in Ourous in the semi-arid north, in one of the houses of the Soeurs, a process of valorisation of their work was then experimented - the pivot responsible for the life of the families - by installing mills for the transformation of the crops: decorticator for rice, peanut paste, milling of local cereals. An incentive to increase production, dedicating the energies and time that the equipment allows to free up; and looking for the best selling prices of the processed product.

Normally, the community works together, Catholics and Muslims. The request to replicate this small model of intervention in various other places was not long in coming. A peanut hulling machine installed in Kaprabbina in the north, waiting for the resources to equip the production of peanut paste. Beekeeping, the first initiative of its kind, and a training and promotion center for women's initiatives were successfully launched in Ourous in a dedicated facility.

The small diaspora of the two priests of this parish, called to help new communities grow elsewhere, has indirectly opened up the opportunity for new initiatives, which we wish to seize.

In Kanya, in the centre, a protected well is being built, from which safe water can finally be pumped for the consumption of the inhabitants; hitherto supplied only with river water, carried by the women one bucket at a time. In Nzérékoré, in the south, a palm oil production will be equipped to exploit local resources; as soon as the necessary resources are available… so many roads to open!

 Mauro Palombo

NP Febbraio 2023



Associazione Sermig Re.Te. per lo Sviluppo

IBAN: IT29 P030 6909 6061 0000 0001 481

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