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.
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.
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