It’s hot and windy in the village of Keur Daouda, but Faty Gueye, 45, is out with the rest of the women in her community cooperative garden, tending to the crops in the late afternoon. Although it’s hard work, Faty is motivated and happy to be training with CREATE!’s technicians to do activities that are helping her earn an income.

“Before my village partnered with CREATE!, I didn’t have any way to make a living,” she says. “I was depending on my husband for supporting my children.”

With nine people to take care of in her family, it has made a big difference for Faty to be able to work in the cooperative garden. Here, she can grow food to eat and sell in the local market, as well as receive training on sustainable agriculture and financial literacy, without having to travel far or leave her village.

Keur Daouda partnered with CREATE! in 2016, so they are still in the early stages of the five-year program. “Right now, I’m following the technicians’ guidance and memorizing many gardening techniques,” Faty explains. “After graduation, I look forward to being able to manage my own garden.”

Faty's community garden provides opportunity for her to improve her living conditions.

The women of the Keur Daouda garden cooperative have planted dozens of papaya trees throughout their garden, each of which can bear up to 150 fruits per year.

She adds, “Vegetables are cheaper in the community now, my family’s diet has improved, and we’ve become healthier now that we’re eating vegetables every day.”

Recently, Keur Daouda also started their first Voluntary Savings and Lending Association (VSLA), and Faty tells us that she’s looking forward to learning how to save money through the program now that she’s earning an income from the garden. “I’ve never been able to take out a loan before, but the VSLA will change that,” she says.

CREATE! is the best NGO I have ever worked with,” adds Faty, “because you are helping rural communities to improve their own life conditions.” We are excited to see Faty and the other women in Keur Daouda well on their way to achieving self-sufficiency and sustainability in their community!

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