Archive for the Senegal Category

Senegal’s Minister of Women, Family, and Children Visits CREATE! Partner Communities

Barry Wheeler with Minister Sarr

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.


Meeting Cooperative Members

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.


Bearing gifts from the garden

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.


Viewing tree nurseries

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.

Ramadan Mubarak

Meeting in Fass Kane

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.


Watering vegetables

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!


VSLA Meeting

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.

New Partnership with Mboss


Community gathering in Mboss

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.


MOU Signing

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.


New Mboss garden site

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.

Celebrating Easter in Senegal

Preparing millet

A cooperative member prepares millet using one of her two expertly constructed improved cookstoves.


Every year on Good Friday, Senegalese Catholics make a traditional treat called ngalakh to enjoy over the Easter weekend. Ngalakh is a porridge made of millet, peanut paste, baobab fruit, sugar, and vanilla. After mass on Good Friday, Catholics break their fast with ngalakh and then share the treat with family, friends, and neighbors. This tradition of sharing food during religious holidays is an important part of Senegal’s culture of peace and unity.

Known for their hospitality, or teranga, Senegalese people of all faiths enjoy celebrating holy days together. Although Senegal has a majority Muslim population with a small Christian (mostly Catholic) minority, its government is officially secular. Not only is Easter observed in Senegal, Easter Monday is a public holiday. Many Christians hold Easter parties with feasting and music and invite their Muslim neighbors and friends. Similarly, during the festival of Tabaski, or Eid al-Adha, Muslims share roasted lamb with Christians.


Baobab fruit

Cooks prepare baobab juice using the pulp of the tree’s fruits.


In CREATE!’s partner communities, Easter is a time to celebrate with friends and family. Some cooperative members prepare ngalakh to enjoy together with neighbors. This traditional ngalakh recipe includes substitutions for difficult-to-find ingredients. We have also included a recipe that puts a modern twist on ngalakh – baobab and peanut butter popsicles!

In Senegalese Wolof, people say of ngalakh, “Defal ndank si ngalakh bi bala moulay yobou ardo,” which means “eat the ngalakh gently, otherwise the ngalakh will eat you” – a warning that millet expands in your stomach and is very filling!

Easter Porridge (ngalakh)


  • 2 cups karaw (millet couscous) or wheat couscous
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups of bouye (baobab fruit) to make juice (see directions)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (smooth, natural, unsweetened)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon orange-flower water
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 1 handful raisins



  1. Prepare the baobab fruit juice: Place the baobab fruit in a clean glass bowl with several cups of warm water. Leave to soak for at least a few hours. Once the fruit is completely soaked, the fruit pulp should be easy to separate from the seeds. Stir it vigorously until the water becomes an opaque tan liquid. Strain this liquid through cheesecloth and set aside. If baobab fruit is not available, substitute fresh or canned tamarind juice, or any other tropical fruit juice.
  2. Steam or cook couscous according to directions. Stir in butter. Cool in the refrigerator.
  3. Make the sauce by mixing equal parts fruit juice and peanut butter – about 1 to 2 cups of each. Add sugar, vanilla, nutmeg (or cinnamon) and orange water. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. To serve, mix the couscous, sauce, and raisins. Sprinkle with sugar.


Recipe from:


Ngalakh Popsicles


Makes 8 popsicles

  • 1 cup coarse millet couscous
  • 1 cup baobab fruit drink (see below)
  • 1 cup smooth unsweetened peanut butter or cashew butter
  • ½ cup honey
  1. Wash the millet several times in a bowl until the water runs clear. Drain well. Place the millet in the top of a steamer basket lined with cheesecloth. Set over salted boiling water, cover, and steam for about 15 minutes or until tender and cooked through. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the baobab drink with the peanut butter and mix well. Add the cooled millet and honey and mix until smooth. Refrigerate until cold.
  3. Stir, then divide the mixture among eight popsicle molds and insert the sticks. Freeze until hard and serve cold.


To make baobab drink:

  • 2 ½ cups baobab fruit pulp
  • 5 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Stir well until the water becomes white and thick. Strain the juice until a pitcher through a fine-mesh sieve lined with damp cheesecloth. Serve chilled.


Recipe from: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl, Pierre Thiam


Source for baobab photo:


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