2nd to 4th January 2016: Training on Solar Drying with the Gambia Women's Initiative
The Solar Association Tiloo organized together with Mrs. Isatou Ceesay, the director of the Gambia Women’s Initiative, a three-day training session on drying fruits with solar tunnel dryers.
The training involved six women from the communities of Sanyang. During the training they processed bananas, coconuts and papayas in slicing them into slim pieces and brushing them with a mixture of lemon juice and sugar before laying them on tiny meshed nets inside of the tunnel dryers, which are protected with a plastic cover against insects and other contaminants such as dust and polluted air. This cover contributes to a better quality of the end products in terms of hygiene. Within two days, all fruits were well dried with the power of sunlight.
The trainees were very interested and asked different questions and discussed possible solutions. For example, they wanted to know where they could sell their products when they heard that neither the Gambia Women's Initiative nor the Solar Association have a network for marketing their products at the moment. In this case, the women could go to the Lumoo, the weekly village market, for this purpose. They also asked which kind of fruits and vegetables are suitable to be dried and realized that it is adequate for almost any, as long as they can be used after drying. One problem remains with the options to package the product since there is no plastic available in the country to wrap products. A good alternative could be reusable glass boxes, which can be sterilized with boiling water and then air-tightened by a rubber ring, but unfortunately they are rather expensive.
The trained women are intent on putting their new knowledge in practice and in training further women. Mrs. Ceesay promised us that she will come back to us for training on solar baking in two months time.