Woman filling up her watering can from the basin
The cornerstone of CREATE!s sustainable development projects for communities in rural Senegal is access to clean water. With your continued support, in the last few years, more than 1500 people in rural Senegal, living in twelve CREATE! partner communities, gained access to year round clean water. Thanks to your generous donations and support from Foundations, these communities have embarked on a path of self-sufficient and sustainable development.
This path to self-sufficiency started with rehabilitation of existing wells in the communities. The CREATE! field technicians worked with community volunteers and local well diggers in every community to achieve that. Once the wells were working again, solar pumping and irrigation systems were installed that pumped the water to an elevated reservoir and from there to the agricultural fields. This meant no more pulling water out from the well by hand to irrigate the land. Some of the new communities also installed drip irrigation systems that made watering the fields more efficient and reduced the workload of the women who had to previously use watering cans to water their vegetable plots.
With access to abundant and affordable water, CREATE! agricultural cooperative members were able to grow vegetables year-round in desert-like conditions for the first time ever. In the community of Gagnick Mack, Ndeye says, “Before CREATE! rehabilitated our well, it was difficult to find vegetables in our village. Our children didn’t even know vegetables. Now, thanks to the garden and the guidance of CREATE!’s field technicians, we are able to grow a variety of nutritious vegetables in Gagnick Mack.” These nutritious vegetables are improving the health of the community members in all of our partner communities. For communities like Santhie and Wereyane situated in the Linguere region of Senegal which gets even less rainfall than the rest of the country, CREATE!s programs have helped them grow vegetables again. As Arame, the president of the co-operative garden group in Wereyane said, the reason the community had given up gardening before was because it had become too difficult to garden by pulling out water by hand from the well multiple times a day. Members of the gardening group in Santhie echoed similar stories. But with the solar pumping and irrigation system working, the community has abundant water in their garden site to grow vegetables year-round.
Members are also improving their economic well being by selling their excess produce in the village markets. Many women in the communities have now become vegetable sellers where previously they would buy from the nearby market. Women who had no work before have become entrepreneurs due to the community gardens made possible by clean water. They have also learned to save their income to use for future activities. The communities of Mboss and Santhie for example used their income from vegetable sales and their savings to install a drip irrigation system in their garden sites on their own. This reinforces CREATE!s aim to foster a sense of ownership among the communities towards their cooperative programs and their willingness to become self-sufficient.
Improved health and economic wellbeing are not the only benefits that access to water has provided. As Rokhe of Darou Diadji points out, “Before CREATE! our village was like a desert, but now thanks to the garden and the tree planting campaign, we have green space and many trees around the village.” This transformation from desert to thriving oasis is only possible through access to clean, abundant, and affordable water. Awa of Santhie sums it up perfectly when she says water is her favorite CREATE! program as “without water, we can’t do anything”.
While CREATE!s programs have been flourishing, the year 2020, with the pandemic and the ensuing challenges has not been easy for our communities in rural Senegal. As an organization, we have been reflecting on what it means to develop resilience and continue to build on our programs that address the diverse needs of our communities in this fast changing climate. Our Senegal team has worked tirelessly to accommodate those needs and changes while continuing our mission. With the experience they have been gaining through their work, our team is motivated to make our programs more successful. In order to achieve that success, we will need your continued support of our upcoming projects.
CREATE!’s new project on GlobalGiving will improve water and food security for 2000 people in rural Senegal and help them build a sustainable future for their communities. Be sure to stay updated with what’s going on with CREATE! by signing up for our email list, liking us on Facebook, following us on Instagram and checking out our blog!
The water basin in the communty of Santhie
Santhie before partnering with CREATE!
Santhie after achieving water access!
Women with their diverse vegetable harvest
Lettuce harvest in new community of Mbossedji