Fatou Samba
Of Transformation and Growth

Relentless and hardworking Giant, tireless worker, leader in the fight against extractives, coal power plant and threats to the environment and their sources of income. 

This giant in her fifties, mother of six children, has been working since she left high school.
Located in the Dakar region, the city of Bargny is home to a population of fishermen-farmers. The inhabitants devote themselves to farming during the rainy season and to fishing during the dry season.

Like all the women in Bargny, she starts her working day very early during the fishing season. Put to sea a day before, the family’s pirogue is announced near Joal at 7:00 am. She comes to wait for it around 8 o'clock. She could not buy many fish the day before from other pirogues, because fishermen sell to their family members first. Afterwards, she goes to the processing site to check on the work of her helpers, and to meet the buyers.
She is firmly committed to the fight against environmental problems in her region, because there are many economic and industrial projects that negatively affect the population's health, especially the construction of a coal power plant, which aroused strong local opposition. In addition to its impact on global warming, from which the area is already suffering, the plant threatens to pollute the entire city of Bargny, with the fishing sector being particularly impacted.
The women's associations are leading the fight against this plant, which encroaches on land previously occupied by the community of women fish processors and thus directly threatens their processing site.

Fatou is the president of the Association of Women Fish Processors, which includes more than twelve area presidents, and whose processing site is very large and growing every year. It is a vital activity for families. It is often the main source of income when the fisher husband is retired or when there is no young male in the family to involve in fishing activities.
Fatou Samba: "Guineans, Malians, Burkinabés come to buy our produce because they do not have an ocean.”
In 2015, when borders were closed due to Ebola virus, she lost all of her production and the growth of her company decreased abruptly.
Life is hard, results of fishing seasons are unsure, and there are fish shortages.

To increase efficiency in this difficult fight, Fatou wanted to commit herself for a while as a politician, and she became a city councilor. She says: "The political game wants us to lie and cheat. I preferred the social struggle for the interest of my community.”
She bitterly notes that during the 2019 presidential elections, women's applications were screened out in one way or another, and when they were members of parties they were marginalized. To set up their own party, women need a lot of money to distribute as it is the fashion nowadays in politics. Insurmountable obstacles!

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