During the 2016 rainy season, cooperative members in Darou Diadji planted hundreds of banana 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.”