In this Blog Issue:
- The History of CREATE! in Senegal
- A Look at One of CREATE!‘s First Partner Communities
- 10 Accomplishments Over the Last 10 Years
- A Letter from CREATE!‘s Executive Director
Visit our 10th Anniversary Page here to view upcoming activities and an interactive map of CREATE!‘s partner communities from 2010-2020.
Endless blue sky stretches from horizon to horizon. Sun scorches the dry, barren land that is scattered with shrubs and baobab trees offering little shade, withered by dusty Harmattan winds blowing off the Sahara. Temperatures hover well over 100 F during the dry season here, a time when cattle and goat herders migrate south in search of better grazing land for their livestock, as the desert encroaches year after year. In a small village, trails of cooking smoke float towards the sky between huts with dried grass rooftops. Children laugh as they chase a soccer ball together, kicking up the sand as they run. Women dressed head to toe in gorgeous, colorful dresses walk amongst the buildings, smiling as they greet each other, “asalaam malekum.” Welcome to Senegal.
For ten years CREATE! has carried out impactful work here, providing thousands of Senegalese women and their families with access to clean water, improved cookstoves, nutritious vegetables, and access to credit. What makes CREATE!’s approach to development special and sustainable is the emphasis that we place on building strong Senegal community partnerships. As CREATE! Country Director, Omar Ndiaye Seck says, “It is important to know what constitutes personal and community well-being as defined by the populations themselves. We listen to them and conduct a process that leads to a consensus on what well-being means in their own community.” By utilizing a participatory approach, community members recognize their own strengths and build empowerment from within.
As CREATE! marks its 10th anniversary, we would like to express our deep appreciation for your consistent generosity in bringing CREATE! this far and for making a difference in the lives of so many people. As Seck says, “Alone, we are going fast; all together, we will go even further to promote the autonomy of women in rural areas.” Learn more from from Seck in this testimonial video.
A Look at One of CREATE!’s First Partner communities: Fass Koffe
Khady Kebe, Fass Koffe’s Cooperative Garden President, walks between rows of lush, diverse crops in the village’s 2.5-acre garden. She brushes aside the large green leaves of an eggplant bush to expose the dark purple, ripening vegetables. Eggplant is a favorite vegetable amongst children and is popular to use in the traditional dish ceebu jen.
Ten years ago, Khady couldn’t imagine growing eggplant or any other type of vegetable in this deserted area. The large plot of sand saw very little rainfall, usually 11-16 inches per year. However, in 2011, Khady decided to step up as Cooperative Garden President to lead her community to self-sufficiency through CREATE!’s programs. “Leading is not easy, but the women respect me and look to me for advice,” Khady told us.
With Khady’s leadership and CREATE!’s technicians, the community of Fass Koffe has access to abundant clean water, cultivates a successful year-round community garden, manages a poultry shed, and Voluntary Savings and Lending Associations within the village. “We will never give up working,” Khady said. CREATE! has helped women in our community earn money, get access to water, and get involved in activities that help to develop our community.”
Fass Koffe Utilizes Their Community Savings
Since Fass Koffe’s graduation at the beginning of 2016, community members have been expanding upon their original projects. In 2017, only a year after graduation, members of the cooperative community garden took the initiative to improve their gravity-fed irrigation system. “We decided to elevate the (water reservoir) platform to see if it would improve the water pressure,” Khady explained.
After calculating for the cost of elevated the platform, Khady and her cooperative garden group agreed to go through with the project with funds saved through their VSLA (Voluntary Savings & Lending Assocation). It was a success! The women of Fass Koffe exemplify the level of self-sufficiency that CREATE! strives to empower in all of its partner communities, and we couldn’t be prouder.
10 Accomplishments Over the Last 10 Years
Letter from Executive Director
Dear friends of CREATE!,
We at CREATE! are ecstatic to celebrate our 10th anniversary as an organization with “10 events for our 10th-anniversary campaign”. Honoring our work on climate action and women’s empowerment in Senegal, these events will range from a virtual climate action trivia night, a reforestation campaign in Senegal, a panel discussion on climate, food security and income generation challenges facing Senegalese women. We will culminate our 10th-anniversary celebration with a 10th-anniversary trip to visit our projects in Senegal in early 2021. We would not have been able to achieve this impact with Senegalese communities without your support, and we welcome you to join our 10th-anniversary celebration.
CREATE!’s philosophy has always focused on building trusting relationships with our partner communities and learning from our collective efforts. These values stand at the front of our mission as we commence the next decade. To further enhance our approach, during 2020 we plan to continue our research in the health sector focusing on household nutrition, intensify training to women’s groups to sustainably manage their projects, continue expanding to new communities, and explore new partnerships with like-minded NGOs and the Senegalese Government. We are very excited about deepening our partnerships and cooperation with Senegalese women and their families during our second decade of operations.
Once again, we offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your support to CREATE!. Your moral and financial support has inspired and propelled us to work tirelessly to improve the livelihoods of the communities we partner with. We look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary with you throughout the year beginning on July 9th with our climate trivia event. We look forward to your continued cooperation and support as we embark on the second decade of our journey to help build sustainable rural communities in Senegal and beyond.
CREATE! Executive Director