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.
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.
The banana trees in Darou Diadji, planted last year, are now producing fruit for the first time.
During the 2016 rainy season, cooperative members in Darou Diadji planted hundreds of trees in their garden site and distributed trees to households throughout the community.
Trees provide shade, moderate temperatures, and produce fruit and nuts. In several villages, women are collecting cashews for sale in local markets. Many cooperative groups have planted fruit trees, including papayas and guavas. In Darou Diadji, the group planted several banana trees, which are now bearing fruit. Banana trees are difficult to grow in the hot, dry conditions of rural Senegal, but with the care of Darou Diadji cooperative members, their banana trees are thriving. The trees also serve as windbreaks and living fences in community garden sites. In the future, community members can also harvest firewood from these trees. Most of these trees are native to West Africa and all thrive in hot climates with annual rainy seasons.
Nearly 90, Awa Leye remembers a time when there were many trees in Darou Diadji. Her fellow cooperative member Absa Fall adds, “Our village used to cut down many trees for firewood because we cooked over open fires that were very wasteful. Thanks to our improved cookstoves and the annual tree planting campaign, there are now lots of trees in Darou Diadji.” With CREATE!’s help, the community is now re-planting their lost forest resources. Awa says, “CREATE! programs have transformed Darou Diadji. Our village is forever changed.”
Cooperative members carefully packed the bananas to transport them to a local market for sale.
In recent months, the Ouarkhokh poultry cooperative sold about 80 percent of their chickens to families in their village, and the remaining 20 percent to people in other communities.
In the CREATE! partner community of Ouarkhokh, there are now 12 households that have their own poultry sheds. Seven of these are owned by CREATE! cooperative members, who learned how to raise poultry through CREATE! training and shared this knowledge with their neighbors. Even with all of this chicken available, demand (and prices) for poultry remain high in Ouarkhokh and surrounding villages. Some young men have even returned from the city to earn a living by raising and selling chickens in Ouarkhokh.
Using the skills that she learned from CREATE! field technicians, Mere Awa Top, 45, has built her own poultry shed at her home. In addition to the income that she earns through her participation in the cooperative poultry project, she is also selling her own chickens for extra income. She says, “My children now frequently eat chicken and I earn a lot of money.”
Mere Awa Top says, “CREATE! has helped me earn money and save it in our community Voluntary Savings and Lending Association (VSLA).
Each morning, Mere Top gets up early to complete her housework before working in Ouarkhokh’s cooperative garden site. In the afternoons, she sells vegetables in the village’s market. Mere Top says that she decided to participate in CREATE! training programs because they offered an opportunity for her to learn how to meet her needs and have an occupation. She also believes that participating in CREATE! training programs has brought the women of Ouarkhokh together. She says, “We used to stay at home but now we gather everyday to work together in the garden site.”
Mere Top thinks that CREATE! programs have increased Ouarkhokh’s self-sufficiency, She says, “Before CREATE!, women in our community traveled to Dahra or Linguere (each between 10 and 15 miles away) to purchase vegetables. Now that we have a garden in Ouarkhokh, we no longer need to depend on other communities. Many people know about our project here and they now come here to buy chickens and vegetables.”