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Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal

by Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment (CREATE!)
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water and Food for 2,000 People in Rural Senegal
Water basins in Keur Ndiouga
Water basins in Keur Ndiouga

Friends,

 

All of us at CREATE! would like to thank you for your generosity that has helped us continue partnering with rural communities in Senegal, helping them improve their access to water and food. Today, I want to focus on the community of Keur Ndiouga and how the community is flourishing due to your support.

 

Situated in the Fatick region of Senegal, the community of Keur Ndiouga started their partnership with CREATE! by signing the Memorandum of Understanding in 2021. The community was in the unique position of possessing a shallow well, a borehole and grain storage infrastructure from previously collaborating with a government-run agriculture project that had ended with no chance of sustainability. After starting partnership with CREATE!, their borehole was rehabilitated and the solar pumping system was installed. Since their well was too far away from the cooperative garden, the borehole was chosen as the water source for the garden while the well meets domestic consumption needs. The solar pumps CREATE! uses for its projects are small enough to be installed in a borehole. With the help of this pump and panels, the community now has access to 27000 liters of water every day out of which they consume 8000 liters and use rest for agriculture. Before the solar pumps, the women in the community had to pull out water manually, which made it very difficult to sustain any agricultural activities. Now, with the pumping system, water is being pumped out and stored easily for the women to use. The community has also installed the gravity fed irrigation system to irrigate their fields. The 417 men and women in the community of Keur Ndiouga are now benefitting from this water.

 

As Lena, the community garden President of Keur Ndiouga mentions, the access to perennial water through the solar pumping system has helped them immensely. Lena also says that before CREATE!, her group was gardening, but they never had a good production because they were working without any training or direction. That changed after their partnership with CREATE! was formalized and the technicians started training the group on organic and sustainable agricultural activities. With this training and the water from the borehole, the 84 women and 2 men in Keur Ndiouga’s garden are now producing a variety of nutritious vegetables every month. In 2022, they produced nearly 350 pounds of fruits and vegetables on an average every month. Most of the vegetables that they produce are common in Senegalese diet like okra, tomatoes, eggplants, African eggplants, turnips, bell peppers and watermelons. Their fresh vegetables produced organically is attracting buyers from surrounding villages since these vegetables do not spoil easily. Together with vegetables and fruits, the community has also planted a number of trees in an effort to prevent desertification. Their garden thus has rows of papaya and moringa trees that provide food and shade. With such productive activities, the community is on its way to improving its food security and self-sufficiency.

 

Keur Ndiouga is now in its second year of production activities and the women are committed to continue their programs for years to come. Implementation and continuation of activities in Keur Ndiouga has been possible with the generous support of donors like you. The women of the community and all of us at CREATE! are grateful for this support.

Watering the plants in the community garden
Watering the plants in the community garden
Preparing organic compost for the plants
Preparing organic compost for the plants
Measuring the harvest
Measuring the harvest
Papaya and Moringa trees in Keur Ndiouga
Papaya and Moringa trees in Keur Ndiouga

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The Diabel Garden in 2022
The Diabel Garden in 2022

Friends,

 

All of us at CREATE! would like to thank you for your generosity that has helped us continue partnering with rural communities in Senegal, helping them sustain and improve their lives and livelihoods. As CREATE!’s Development Associate, I recently got the chance to visit these communities and would like to share with you the story of our partner community of Diabel; a story about growth and change and resilience, but above everything, a story of hope.

 

Situated in the Fatick region of Senegal, Diabel is a community that has a desert like climate common to most regions of Senegal. My first visit to Diabel had been in February 2020, right before the pandemic started. From the minute I set foot in their community garden, I was overwhelmed with the passion and the joy I saw in the women there, working tirelessly in above 100F temperatures to grow vegetables in the sand. Diabel had just started their second year of project activities back in February 2020. The enthusiasm of the women as they worked towards a sustainable food secure future for themselves was palpable. They showed me around proudly, the vegetables they were growing and harvesting, the papaya trees they had just planted, the Acacia Olos they hoped would one day provide them protection from the harsh harmattan winds. As I took pictures of everything around me, I believed in their enthusiasm and hoped that their community garden would flourish under these harsh climatic conditions of rural Senegal.

 

Two years down the road, I got the opportunity to revisit Diabel this June and witness the change in a pandemic ridden world. The familiar faces I saw seemed a little tired, even maybe more drawn than before, but the enthusiasm was intact. COVID has affected Senegal adversely, with life becoming more expensive and unpredictable. Diabel has gone through the pandemic in the same way as any other rural community, changing the way they worked to accommodate the safety regulations. But the pandemic was not the only problem that Diabel encountered. The community has also faced terrible locust attacks in recent months that has decimated a huge part of their crops. It is very demoralizing to see your hard work destroyed overnight, but with the help of the CREATE! technicians, the community persevered. Even though the vegetable plots were rendered empty by the locusts, the nurseries established to replenish those crops were thriving.

 

Apart from the nutritious vegetables, Diabel has also been planting trees. Reforestation is a very important element of CREATE!’s program in rural Senegal, an attempt to reduce desertification. The positive effects of having trees in the community garden can be seen easily in Diabel. Not only does the garden look beautiful and green, it also has shade that makes it easier for the women to keep working in the summer afternoons. Over the last 2 years, the women of Diabel have not only planted more trees, but have taken good care of them. The papaya trees which were new in 2020 were now twice my size, the Acacia Olos, which were mere saplings are now more than 8 feet tall, forming live protective barriers for the garden.

 

The women of Diabel have learned to cope with adversities like a pandemic and attacks of pests like locusts that have destroyed their hard work. During my recent visit, what I saw in the faces of the women who were working continuously to turn their sandy garden green was determination and hope. This hope has allowed them to endure and overcome all adversities. As the women told me themselves, they will continue their projects even after they graduate from CREATE!’s programs because they believe in the work, they believe in their ability to improve their own lives.

 

Support from donors like you has made it possible for the women to keep hoping for a better future. The women of Diabel and all of us at CREATE! are grateful for this support.

The garden back in 2020
The garden back in 2020
The bare fences in 2020 with the Acacia saplings
The bare fences in 2020 with the Acacia saplings
The live fences with 8 feet tall Acacia Olos now
The live fences with 8 feet tall Acacia Olos now
Growing eggplants after locust attacks
Growing eggplants after locust attacks
Showing her harvest
Showing her harvest

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Boustane Lo, before and after
Boustane Lo, before and after

Friends,

 

All of us at CREATE! would like to thank you for your generosity that has helped us continue partnering with rural communities in Senegal, helping them improve their access to water and food. To show our gratitude, let me take you today on a trip to Boustane Lo, a rural community in Senegal that started their partnership with CREATE! in 2019 and is now thriving with your support.

 

Situated in the Fatick region of Senegal, Boustane is a community that has a desert like climate common to most regions of Senegal. Before partnering with CREATE!, most of the members in this community practiced subsistence agriculture during the short rainy season. Things changed for them once they signed the MoU with CREATE! which led to improved access to perennial water from a rehabilitated well using solar pumping systems and drip irrigation. Boustane now has abundant water to grow nutritious vegetables throughout the year.

 

Having abundant water, though important, does not always solve all the problems, as the residents of Boustane Lo understand very well. While the community now has water throughout the year, the water from the well is saline. This means that not every vegetable can be grown easily with this water that turns the soil saline too. But the women of Boustane persevered. With help from the CREATE! technicians, they learned about composting that can turn their barren and sandy soils into nutritious garden beds for vegetables like eggplants and peppers. The women now bring all their organic waste to the cooperative garden site to turn into compost. They also learned to grow vegetables like okra and turnips that do well in the saline soil with the help of this organic compost.

 

Now in its third year of partnership with CREATE!, the community of Boustane Lo is sustaining their water access through good maintenance of their rehabilitated well, their solar powered water pumping system and their irrigation systems. The well generates about 27000 liters of water every day, out of which 20,000 liters is used for agriculture and the rest consumed domestically. This water is helping the community produce tomatoes, eggplants, turnips, okra, cabbage and lettuce. Consumption of such a variety of vegetables has allowed 100% of women in their reproductive ages in the community to attain Minimum Dietary Diversity, a measurable indicator on nutritional adequacy.

 

Continuation of these project activities in Boustane Lo has been possible with the generous support of donors like you. You have helped the community endure hardships and to keep thriving. The women of Boustane Lo and all of us at CREATE! are grateful for this support.

Water basins in Boustane now has water year round
Water basins in Boustane now has water year round
Women in Boustane learned to make organic compost
Women in Boustane learned to make organic compost
Compost made it easier to grow vegetables in sand
Compost made it easier to grow vegetables in sand
Varieties of vegetables are now available
Varieties of vegetables are now available

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Friends,

 

With heartfelt gratitude from the CREATE! team, I would like to share with you the story of Maimouna from the community of Ndiagne Kahone and how her life has changed through your generous support. Ndiagne Kahone is situated in the Kaolack region of Senegal and has a population of approximately 1300 people. Temperatures in the region regularly hover in the 100-110 F range. In that sweltering heat, Maimouna strives to provide for her family a decent and healthy life. Her community’s partnership with CREATE! in 2020 has allowed her to do so.

 

Before Ndiagne Kahone partnered with CREATE!, Maimouna and many other women like her in her community could only practice subsistence agriculture during the short rainy season. For the rest of the year they would have to buy expensive vegetables from markets far away from her village. For community members of Ndiagne Kahone, the available markets were either Mboss situated nearly 4 miles away or Guinguineo, situated 12miles away. Traveling regularly to these markets to buy vegetables was difficult, which meant Maimouna and her family including her three children would rarely be able to consume nutritious and fresh vegetables. Their access to drinking water was also limited either to the state provided water tower, which many times turned out to be too salty to drink, or neighboring villages. The one well they had in their community had been abandoned years ago. All of this affected the health and wellbeing of them all.

 

After the partnership between the community and CREATE! was finalized in 2020, Maimouna and her fellow community members now have a rehabilitated well with sweet, clean and fresh water in their village, a well that has a capacity to produce more than 20,000 liters of water every day. Using this water, Maimouna is now producing a variety of vegetables and fruits in the community garden year round, including bell peppers, okra, tomatoes, eggplants, mint, water melon and chili peppers. Her family now has fresh vegetables that she can harvest and bring home regularly from the garden and cook family favorite dishes like ceebu jen, a dish made with rice, vegetables and fish. Her children find these farm-fresh vegetables sweet to taste, probably because they are produced organically without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This also gives the vegetables a longer shelf life. During the months of July to October, the community of Ndiagne Kahone produced nearly 11,000 pounds of vegetables and fruits in total. The community consumed these vegetables and sold the excess in those same markets of Mboss and Guinguineo where they would previously go to buy. They also have buyers coming straight to their garden to buy fresh from the community. All of this has improved the income generation capacity of women like Maimouna who earned more than $22 on an average every month during the same period.

 

Continuation of these project activities in the community of Ndiagne Kahone has helped Maimouna and the other women in her village nurture their families and provide them with healthy and nutritious food and a chance for better health care and education choices with their improved income. This would not have been possible without the generous support of donors like you. The community members of Ndiagne Kahone and all of us at CREATE! are grateful for this support.

Maimouna nurturing the eggplants
Maimouna nurturing the eggplants
Community members with bountiful eggplant harvest!
Community members with bountiful eggplant harvest!
Tending to the chili peppers.
Tending to the chili peppers.
The community also grew mint.
The community also grew mint.
Watermelon harvest.
Watermelon harvest.

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Tending the gardens while being safe
Tending the gardens while being safe

Friends,

 

It is my pleasure to thank you and share with you how through your generous support, the community of Mbossedji in rural Senegal survived the pandemic. Mbossedji began its partnership with CREATE! back in 2019, and when the pandemic hit, it had just started producing fresh food in its community garden. Led tirelessly by the community garden president, Ndeye, together with the training received from CREATE!’s team, the women of Mbossedji fought the negative developmental impacts of the pandemic and remained strong and resilient. The community not just produced nutritious food for themselves, but also became a makeshift market for the neighboring villages, selling their fresh produce to their neighbors and friends! This kept the communities food secure and helped the women maintain their economic independence.

 

This is what Mbossedji has achieved in the first five months of 2021. With its 2-hectare community garden site irrigated with 36,000 liters of water every day, they produced more than 5600 pounds of nutritious vegetables between January to May, 2021. Support from donors like you allowed them to receive training on organic cultivation methods including organic composting, crop maintenance, setting up and transplantation of nurseries. This training helped them maintain crops like tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and chili peppers, transplant their lettuce nurseries and set up the eggplant, okra and watermelon beds. Continuous production in the garden of a variety of nutritious vegetables and fruits not only improved the health of the community, but also led to improved income opportunities. Each project participant earned more than 1300 CFA every month on an average during these five months. The community has also learned microfinance techniques that helps them save their income to use in further entrepreneurial ventures.

 

Continuation of the project activities in the face of a pandemic has helped Mbossedji remain resilient and move towards self-sufficiency, the aim of CREATE!s sustainability projects in rural Senegal. This is what Awa, a project participant from Mbossedji has to say about CREATE!s projects to improve food security: “We used to consume vegetable very rarely because it was expensive in the market and we couldn’t buy the quantity we needed. Since we partnered with CREATE!, vegetable is always available in the village and I have the possibility to consume a big quantity. Now instead of going to the market for buying vegetables, we go there for selling it.” Other community members echo what Awa says, and this has been possible only because of the generosity of supporters like you. The community members of Mbosssedji and all of us at CREATE! are thankful for this support.

Women of Mbossedji with their tomato harvest
Women of Mbossedji with their tomato harvest
Planting diverse vegetables in the sand
Planting diverse vegetables in the sand
Harvesting vegetables for family and markets
Harvesting vegetables for family and markets
Cabbages in the community garden
Cabbages in the community garden
Thank you for your support!
Thank you for your support!

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Project Leader:
Paulomi Battacharyya
Eugene, OR United States
$3,936 raised of $50,000 goal
 
78 donations
$46,064 to go
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