Banana Co-op Brought Back To Life By New Roads



The Sathioum Banana Cooperative was founded in 1987 after the construction of the RN6, a local highway in the Casamance Region of Senegal. The cooperative currently has 121 members and are cultivating 15 hectares of bananas, which provide a reliable and profitable income.


The cooperative is located along one of a number of roads selected by SFL’s to be rehabilitated. In 2016, following our work on the road, they reported a 54% increase in production, and a 67% increase in income from $86,000 (USD) to $51,000. On average, each member saw their income increase from $420 to $710 over the previous year.

In an interview its president, Mr. Sylvain Diatta, attributed the increase in sales to the newly rehabilitated road. He explained that due to the poor condition of the road, buyers had ceased to come to the cooperative. They found that the transportation conditions were not worth the bananas.

Since rehabilitation of the road, buyers have returned. Buyers now come from as far away as Dakar, the Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau to buy Sathioum Banana Cooperative’s bananas. Mr. Diatta estimated that the number of large trucks (carrying more than 5 metric tons) had increased from around 40 trucks to more than 100 trucks. That’s a lot of bananas! 


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Mustafa Omar
Chief Executive Officer

Mustafa Omar has worked in Shelter For Life’s field projects and headquarters organizational management positions, leading operations and business development around the world. Mr. Omar has managed and overseen a variety of projects in some of the world’s most difficult places to work, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, and South Sudan. He holds a degree in Economics from University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and a graduate degree in Urban Planning from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Gordon Wright
Vice Chairman

Gordon A. Wright is Founder and President of over 40 years with JIMI International and is an Elder at Tulsa Christian Fellowship. Mr. Wright owned and operated a lawn and tree service business for nearly 15 years. Mr. Wright also served with the US Army for three years in the 1960s.Two of Mr. Wright’s years were spent in South Korea as a Brigade Intelligence Sergeant. Mr. Wright has provided mentoring and counseling to spiritual leaders around the world; with specific attention to individuals in Russia, Ukraine and former Soviet Bloc countries. Mr. Wright helped to found and direct East/West Resources International and Global Assistance Partners International. Mr. Wright has served as one of the original founding board of directors for Shelter For Life International. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Gordon grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.