You’ve heard many testimonials and stories from the women in CREATE!’s partner communities, but what about the men? Although the majority of CREATE!’s work in Senegal focuses on women, men are also an important part of our program activities and the effort to build a sustainable future. Traditionally, in rural Senegal men fill the role of the provider of the family. Job opportunities are limited in rural Senegal so many men leave their villages to look for work in urban areas, surrounding countries, or even as far as Europe. However, CREATE!’s programs offer to teach both men and women new financial and agricultural skills so that they can support their families without leaving. Now, instead of risking journeys abroad, men are thrilled to be working with their families and neighbors to reduce poverty in their own communities.
Creating a Sustainable Future in Back Samba Dior: Meet Mamadou Niang
Many men serve as CREATE! community volunteers. Community volunteers help cooperative groups conduct heavy labor such as clearing brush and building fences. They also work as guards to protect community garden sites and provide guidance to cooperative members as needed.
In the village of Back Samba Dior, Mamadou Niang is learning how to clean the solar panels of the solar water pumping system. Cleaning the solar panels ensures that the pumping system receives enough energy every day. With sufficient solar energy, thousands of liters of water is pumped every day into above-ground storage for drinking and agriculture use in Back Samba Dior. Using water from this system, the village of Back Samba Dior has been able to successfully cultivate a year-round community garden.
Mamadou explains that he also volunteers in the garden. “As a community volunteer, I spent most of my time in the garden working with the women. I am learning many things from CREATE!’s technicians.” Using techniques taught by CREATE!’s technicians, Mamadou and other community members are growing diverse crops in the desert for the first time. “CREATE!’s projects have brought us closer and we have the possibility to meet each other,” Mamadou tells us. “I hope for a good future for my village and the success of the CREATE! programs because it is sustainable development. Even our children can continue it in the future.”
Meet Thierno Gueye from Diabel
Thierno Gueye is a father of seven in the village of Diabel. Thierno is incredibly supportive of CREATE!’s programs and enjoys helping his wife in the community garden and with other activities. “Before, I used to spend many days collecting firewood for my family. Since we have improved cookstoves, my wife uses less firewood for cooking, and we have more time for other opportunities,” he explains. Thierno’s family has two improved cookstove in their kitchen. “With the improved cookstove, the flame is trapped inside so even the children can stay in the kitchen without their mother and without any risk,” Thierno describes. Now his wife can safely cook delicious meals with vegetables provided by the community garden.
Thierno, as well as other community volunteers, train with CREATE!’s technicians each week and bring their new knowledge to the Diabel’s community garden. Here they grow a variety of vegetables year-round from eggplants to tomatoes, okra, peppers, and even fruit trees. “Our children like the vegetables we grow in the village because they are very sweet. I like the rice and fish my wife cooks with the fresh vegetables,” Thierno explains. The community of Diabel is able to sustain this garden year-round because of their solar-powered pumping system and rehabilitated well. The clean, sweet water from the well is also used for drinking. Thierno tells us, “As an older man, I know longer suffer from knee pain and hypertension because the well water is clean and good for our health. We are drinking the well water every day and improving our health!”
When men are active participants in CREATE! activities, they typically encourage their wives, sisters, and daughters to also participate. We believe that it is essential to include everyone in the effort to reduce poverty in rural Senegal. Consider helping more families and communities build a sustainable future for generations to come by donating today!