CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler and Field Technician Amadou Diouf recently led a training in improved cookstove construction in the remote community of Diabel.
During his recent visit to Senegal, CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler traveled to the village of Diabel with CREATE! Country Director Omar Ndiaye Seck and Field Technician Amadou Diouf to meet community members and to lead a training session in the construction of improved cookstoves. Over 62 kilometers northeast of the town of Guinguineo, Diabel is located on the edge of the Sahel in a very hot, desert-like environment.
Barry and Diouf taught women how to test the cookstove material to see if it has the correct consistency. This ensures that cookstoves remain strong.
Although the region around Diabel was once forested, agricultural expansion and demand for firewood has fueled local deforestation. Now, the community of Diabel has few trees and families in the village must purchase expensive firewood for cooking.
In this photo, Diouf demonstrates how to properly build the walls of the improved cookstove.
As part of their visit, Barry and Diouf taught women in Diabel how to build their own clay-sand improved cookstoves out of free, local materials. The women were enthusiastic participants and enjoyed learning the techniques required to build an improved cookstove. Following the training, they returned to their homes to build their own improved cookstoves. CREATE! technicians will return in about one month to count the number of cookstoves built and to provide follow-up training, if needed.
Improved cookstoves are also culturally appropriate. Women build stoves for their own cooking pots and do not need to change their cooking habits. Learn more about clay-sand improved cookstoves on the CREATE! website: http://createaction.org/renewableenergy_overview.php
Clay-sand improved cookstoves are an appropriate solution to the problem of deforestation around Diabel. Improved cookstoves use up to 75 percent less firewood than traditional open fires. Thanks to improved cookstoves, women will no longer need to purchase expensive firewood or rely on dwindling forest resources to fuel their cooking fires. When cooking with an improved cookstove, women only need two or three small sticks of wood to prepare an entire meal. During the rainy season, CREATE! will return to Diabel to teach women how to establish tree nurseries and to distribute tree seedlings for reforestation. Slowly, the community will be able to rebuild their native forests.
CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler and Field Technician Codou Gadji greet Mariama Sarr, Minister of Women, Family, and Children, in the Walo garden site.
In late May, CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler joined the Senegal field team in welcoming Mariama Sarr – the Senegal Minister of Women, Family, and Children – to the communities of Walo and Diender. During her visits, Minister Sarr toured the cooperative garden sites, tree seedling nurseries, poultry sheds, and Appropriate Technology Training and Demonstration Centers.
Cooperative members proudly shared their thriving gardens with Minister Sarr.
Minister Sarr’s visit was in honor of Senegal’s National Women’s Month. During the month of May, Minister Sarr visited many rural villages to better understand the economic situation of women in Senegal and to see solutions to rural poverty in action. During her visit to Walo and Diender, many regional and local dignitaries spoke to the crowd.
The cooperative presidents gave Minister Sarr a gift of vegetables from their verdant gardens.
Hundreds of cooperative members and village residents – from Walo, Diender, and other partner communities – greeted Minister Sarr. They were proud and excited to share their thriving gardens with her. Minister Sarr was very impressed with the work of the cooperative groups in these villages and expressed her support for CREATE!‘s continued success in the region.
Minister Sarr praised the cooperatives’ thriving tree seedling nurseries.
All of CREATE!’s field technicians were present to greet Minister Sarr and communicate the tenets of CREATE!’s philosophy of grassroots and sustainable community-based development. Cooperative presidents from both Walo and Diender also spoke eloquently about how participating in CREATE! programs has changed their lives and their communities.
It’s very hot and dry during Ramadan this year, making the fast especially difficult. During the heat of the afternoon, many cooperative members relax in the shade of CREATE!’s garden sites. Here, cooperative members in Fass Kane sit in the shade as they speak with CREATE! Country Director Omar Ndiaye Seck.
Last Friday marked the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from drinking and eating from sunrise to sunset. In addition, individuals spend this month reflecting on and enacting Islamic tenets, including empathy for the poor, charity, and communal worship.
The weather forecast for rural Senegal will remain dry and hot for much of the next month, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees. CREATE! field technicians and beneficiaries will continue to tend gardens, build cookstoves, care for chickens, and participate in other activities – all while fasting.
Work continues in CREATE!’s cooperative garden sites during Ramadan. Cooperative members adjust their watering schedules to work during the cooler morning hours. Their continued commitment to the gardens is inspiring.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims in Senegal will celebrate the holiday of Korité with three days of feasting with family and friends. Korité is a national holiday in Senegal and many families travel from cities to their rural home villages to celebrate with their extended families. Many of CREATE!’s VSLA groups time the payout of their savings and lending cycle to coincide with the end of Ramadan and Korité celebrations. VSLA participants used their payouts to cover the costs of clothing, household goods, and food for their Korité celebrations. Poultry cooperatives are also planning ahead for Korité. Some cooperatives have doubled the number of chickens they raise so that they will have an ample supply for the end of Ramadan.
To CREATE!’s Senegalese staff and beneficiaries, Ramadan mubarak!
VSLAs in CREATE! partner communities will hold share out meetings in the coming weeks to accommodate members’ need for additional income to cover holiday costs.
In CREATE!’s newest partner community of Mboss, women are meeting to organize into cooperative groups.
CREATE! is excited to announce our newest community partnership! In late April, CREATE!’s Senegal field team signed a Memorandum of Understanding with leaders in the community of Mboss. Through extensive meetings with local leaders, our field technicians formulated specialized training, activities, and project support to help women develop methods and strategies of community self-development that are based on local needs, knowledge, participation, and social-mobilization.
In late April, CREATE! Senegal staff signed a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives of the new cooperative groups.
The village of Mboss is located just south of the town of Gossas, the location of CREATE!’s Senegal office. About 80 women committed to participating in CREATE! training programs in this community. This group includes women from Mboss, Gossas, and other small surrounding villages. These women have demonstrated their commitment to CREATE!’s philosophy of self-development by starting their own dry season garden on land donated by community leaders and by building, using, and maintaining efficient clay-sand improved cookstoves.
Volunteers in Mboss have started to clear brush from their new cooperative garden site.
Women in Mboss are eager to begin agricultural activities in their new garden site. In the past week, they have been working to fence the one-hectare garden site and clear it of brush. Next, CREATE! field technicians will work with community volunteers and a traditional well digger to rehabilitate a well in the garden site. After the well is rehabilitated, CREATE! will install a solar powered pumping system and gravity-fed irrigation system. Once access to clean, abundant, and affordable water is secured, CREATE! field technicians will begin to instruct women in sustainable agriculture techniques.