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Videography: Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio for Concern Universal, The Gambia & Senegal, West Africa – click image or here to view

 

Earlier this year, we traveled a short distance across the border,  south of The Gambia (where we have been based for the last 8-9 months),  into the Casamance region of Senegal – on assignment for a local NGO, Concern Universal, who we have  worked with on previous projects.  The purpose of this assignment was to document a celebratory forest festival in the village of Koudioubé – a juddering, hold-onto-anything-fixed-down and mind-your-head-whilst-you’re-at-it,  20 minute drive on a deeply rutted ‘road’ (which, we were told by the driver, is often  impassible during a heavy rainy season) through the bush, from the small town of Diouloulou.

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Woman collects dead wood only (no trees are cut down for this purpose) in the protected forest area of Koudioubé – image © Jason Florio

 

What the villagers have achieved – in a region where, for 30 years, communities have been broken apart by civil war, and forests have been decimated – is truly uplifting…

‘Local orginazation, ASIPID, a partner of Concern Universal, came up with the idea to the peace and save the remaining forests… .

The Koudioubé Community Forest – managed by four communities, was the first to be protected. It’s regeneration has been a source of celebration for the community. Then this grew to 8 more communities, who have set up community forests. Now many more want to follow...’ (read more on the video) – CU, The Gambia & Senegal.

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‘The Agomalah’ – traditional masquerade – comes to the Koudioubé Forest Festival. Image © Jason Florio

 

To find out more about traditional masquerades (as pictured above) in West Africa, you may like to read about our new multimedia project, on this very subject – which we will continue to  work on when we return to West Africa –  here.

Coming next, Part 2 of ‘An anthology – photographs by Jason Florio

The Florios – Helen & Jason

 

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