As we shift into our rainy and cold months, Senegal shifts into its dry season. Senegal’s dry season runs from mid-October to mid-June, and not a drop of rain will fall in the coming months. But this doesn’t stop our partner communities from continuing to garden and produce vegetables regularly. CREATE!’s partner communities are maintaining dry season gardens because they have reliable access to clean water. Water is truly the source of life and economic success out here in the desert.
For our partner communities, consistent access to water means supporting a reliable source of income. How? Because villages can maintain year-round gardens. Year-round gardens mean that community members can regularly provide their families with nutritious vegetables. After families are taken care of, the excess vegetables are sold in the market to generate income. This is how our partner communities turn their villages into self-sufficient oases out here in the desert.
Let’s take a tour through a couple of our partner villages to see how they are doing!
Ouarkhokh: Creating Occupations
Here we see Ndeye Fary Thiam, a mother of five in the village of Ouarkhokh. She stands proudly in the community garden that she has helped create and sustain with her village’s Garden Cooperative Group. Behind Ndeye, we can see a section of pepper plants that she has been maintaining. Like many women in rural Senegal, Ndeye did not have an occupation before she began to work in a community garden. She explains that it was only her husband who worked to support the family. Now, Ndeye tells us, “My occupation is in the site because I am able to gain something for supporting my family.”
Keur Daouda: Supporting Family Life
Here we see Thioro Diop, watering plants in the community garden while one of her youngest children waits by her side. Thioro is a mother of seven in the village of Keur Daouda. The pepper plants that she is watering in the photo above are still in their early stages. However, with Thioro’s care, they will grow into healthy, large plants like the ones we saw in Ndeye’s photo. Thioro has been learning and utilizing sustainable garden techniques from CREATE!’s technicians every week. This way, she can continue to maintain the garden on her own after Keur Daouda graduates from CREATE!’s 5-year program. She tells us, “I am working every day in the site, and I have the possibility to take care of my children.” Now she can care for her family and provide them with fresh vegetables every day without leaving her village.
Walo: Sustainable and Traditional Agriculture Methods
Welcome to Walo! Here in the community garden we see Modou Ndiaye and his friend preparing the soil for new seedlings. This is one of the many ways that men support the women’s work in the community garden. Villages often use traditional horse-drawn plows instead of tractors for multiple reasons: Tractors are expensive, they run on fuel, and they need constant mechanical repairs which is not always possible or timely in rural areas. Horses are much more reliable, cheaper, and easier to take care of. Horses are also like the family’s pet. They are kept next to the family’s hut in the yard where children can play and ride them!
Wereyane: Maintaining Access to Water
How do communities gain access to water during the dry season? Through a solar-powered water pumping system! There is plenty of sunshine out here, so we utilize the sun’s energy to make water just as plentiful. Here we see Omar Ndiaye Seck and Abib Nieng, some of CREATE!’s field staff, washing the solar panels in the village of Wereyane. It’s important to clean and maintain the solar panels to make sure the pumping system is working properly.
Wells can be as much as 150-feet deep, so it can be strenuous to pull up buckets of water by hand multiple times a day. However, the pumping systems pumps water into an above-ground reservoir and garden basin so that community members have easy access to water for household and garden uses.
Thanks for taking a photo tour with us through a few of our partner villages! We are so proud of the hard work and commitment that members of our partner communities continue to put in. This is the kind of success we hope to see across rural Senegal, and it is donors like you who make these programs possible. Thank you, jerejef, for supporting our partner communities’ success in rural Senegal.
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