This Friday marks one of the last days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Senegal. During Ramadan, observant Muslims abstain from drinking and eating from sunrise to sunset. In addition, individuals spend this month reflecting on and enacting Islamic tenets, including empathy for the poor, charity, and communal worship.
Since we are still in the dry season, the weather in rural Senegal will remain dry and hot for much of the next month, with temperatures well over 100 degrees. However, men and women in CREATE!’s partner communities continue to tend gardens, build cookstoves, care for chickens, and participate in other activities – all while fasting.
At the end of Ramadan in Senegal, Muslims will celebrate the holiday of Korité with three days of special prayers and feasting with family and friends. Korité is a national holiday in Senegal and many families travel from cities to their rural home villages to celebrate with their extended families. However, in the time of COVID-19, travel restrictions have prevented families from traveling to other regions for the health and safety of the public. Celebrations may remain smaller and more localized, making Ramadan and Korité unique this year.
Many of CREATE!’s VSLA groups time the payout of their savings and lending cycle to coincide with the end of Ramadan and Korité celebrations. In Senegal, families typically have new clothes made for the holiday. Individuals often exchange gifts and donate to those in need. VSLA participants use their payouts to cover the costs of clothing, household goods, and food for their Korité celebrations. Poultry cooperatives plan ahead for Korité as well. Some cooperatives have doubled the number of chickens they raise so that they will have an ample supply for the end of Ramadan.
To CREATE!’s Senegalese staff and beneficiaries, Ramadan Mubarak and Korité Mubarak!