Archive for the Testimonials Category
“Before we began working with CREATE! vegetables we ate were coming from Kaolack but now thanks to the site we are able to eat vegetables without leaving the village.”
Anyone who’s been to a farmer’s market in their community knows the value of being able to buy fresh, locally grown produce from a nearby farm or garden, rather than having to buy fruits and vegetables that have been shipped across the country or grown on industrial farms. Less than a decade ago, people in the community of Fass Koffe would have never thought they’d be growing and selling their own produce for the local market; rather, vegetables had to be bought from distant regions of Senegal and their options were limited. Today however, Sophie N’diaye points out that “There is a big improvement in Fass market because almost all the vegetables come from our community.”
Sophie, age 65, has been participating in CREATE!’s programs for 6 years now, long enough to see the profound differences it has made in her community. In fact, Fass Koffe is one of CREATE!’s graduated communities, and is now successfully running all of its programs on its own.
As a graduated community, men and women in Fass Koffe now run all of their own programs and community gardens using skills and knowledge that they learned through CREATE!
Communities that partner with CREATE! receive five years of training and assistance from our team of technicians in Senegal, who teach them to build improved cookstoves, rehabilitate their wells, start income generation programs like poultry sheds and VSLAs, and establish cooperatively managed community gardens where they can grow food year-round. If they’ve reached self-sufficiency after five years, communities like Fass Koffe graduate from the program with everything they need to continue their projects on their own, with only periodic check-ins and support as needed from CREATE! technicians.
“With the tree planting program, we all now have shade to sit under when it’s hot,” says Sophie, who also appreciates the abundance of clean water from their hand-dug well for drinking and for irrigating their gardens. She says there are now many poultry sheds in the village as well, providing chickens for them to eat and sell on the market, while the VSLA program helps women to save money from their market sales and provide loans to those who need them. The beautiful transformation of Fass Koffe that Sophie has seen is evidence of the great work and participation that members of the community have committed to continuing their success as part of the CREATE! program.
“Before we started working with CREATE! it was very difficult to find vegetables in the village because it is so small and there is no market, but now thanks to CREATE! we are able to eat vegetables every day.”-Aminata Diack
“I’m passionate about this project and I decided to join the CREATE! team because there were no jobs in the village, and women used to stay in their houses without anything to do,” says Aminata Diack, age 28, Walo.
In small villages like Walo, it is not unusual for young adults to leave and go to the city to make their living. This is partly due to the impacts of climate change: drought and variable weather patterns make it difficult for people to do agricultural work in their home villages in desert conditions, so they are forced to look elsewhere for employment. Those who stay behind to take care of the households are left with very limited opportunities. However, Aminata has seen this change with the help of CREATE! in her community. Living in a household of 10 people, including her husband, co-wife, and children, she has participated in all of CREATE!’s programs over the last 2 years, including crop cultivation, building improved cookstoves, tree planting, and poultry production.
“The improved cookstove is helping me to save my time because I don’t need to walk many miles for collecting firewood,” she says. The implementation of improved cookstoves, combined with the tree planting campaign, has also reduced deforestation around the village.
Additionally, Aminata has found that the VSLA (Voluntary Savings and Lending Association) program has made it possible for community members to save and manage their money, as well as provide loans for those who need them. She enjoys raising her own poultry through the poultry production program, as well as gardening fresh vegetables to feed her family. All of these projects together have made it so that fewer people are leaving Walo, and instead making their living through improving their own home community, which Aminata observes has made life better for the village.
Cooperative member Aminata puts compost around the newly transplanted green pepper. This time of year it is very hot in Walo, which is why it is extra important to take care of the tiny plants.
Ndeye Kane has been part of the Fass Kane cooperative for the past six years and says, “with the knowledge that I have learned from CREATE! field technicians, I’m now able to work for myself.”
“I’ve meet people from many NGOs but CREATE! is my favorite! I now have a good life and I will be able to use the skills that I have learned to support myself forever.”
Ndeye Kane, 50, enjoys working in the Fass Kane cooperative garden with her daughters, neighbors, and friends. Ndeye says, “CREATE! programs are very important for rural communities. I decided to participate in a CREATE! agricultural cooperative because I believed that this training would change my life.”
Fass Kane is a market town and many people earn a living by selling vegetables in the market. Ndeye says that women used to travel to the city of Kaolack, about 22 kilometers away, to purchase vegetables to sell in Fass. “Now,” she says, “we can sell and eat vegetables that we grow here in our community.”
Ndeye also appreciates the training that she has received in the care, maintenance, and marketing of poultry. She says, “I’ve gained many benefits from participating in the Fass Kane poultry cooperative. Access to fresh chicken has improved the nutrition of my children. I am also able to keep my own chickens at home because I have the skills and knowledge to do so.” She has also learned how to build an improved cookstove. She says, “I love my improved cookstove. Improved cookstoves help women in our community cook more quickly and economize their firewood. We can also save time because we no longer need to walk many miles to collect firewood.”
Ndeye weeds pepper plants in the Fass Kane garden site. She is happy to bring home peppers and other vegetables to feed her 11 children and grandchildren at home.
Diarra Ndour says, “Before CREATE!, it was difficult to find vegetables to eat in Gagnick Mack because the village is very far from towns with large markets. Now, we have easy access to healthy vegetables.”
Diarra Ndour, 41, loves working in the Gagnick Mack cooperative garden. She believes that participating in CREATE! training programs has changed her life. She says, “I have noticed an improvement in my family’s health because we now have clean water, fresh vegetables, and nutritious chicken.”
In the past, families in Gagnick Mack rarely ate vegetables. There was no work available in the community and farming was only possible during the three months of the rainy season. “With access to clean water,” Diarra says, “it is now possible for us to grow food throughout the year. For the past two years, since we first partnered with CREATE!, we have been eating fresh vegetables grown in our village.”
Diarra is especially appreciative of her training in poultry production. “Before we had the poultry shed in Gagnick Mack, my family only ate chicken every few months. Now, we can eat chicken often.” Diarra is happy that she is now able to raise chickens because she has the skills and knowledge to do so. She says, “Chicken is great for my children’s health because it is rich in protein. I am also able to earn money by selling chicken to my neighbors.”
Diarra waters recently transplanted lettuce in the Gagnick Mack garden site. Each day that she works in the garden, Diarra is able to bring home vegetables for her 7 children.