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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.

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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