As 2014 ends, we reflect back on the accomplishments of CREATE!’s field staff and partner communities in rural Senegal. During the past year, these villages have transformed their lives through their hard work and their continued collaboration and partnership with CREATE!
In Senegal, CREATE! staff worked to expand partnerships with new communities in our operating region. Early in 2014, several villages approached CREATE! and asked for training in clay-sand improved cookstove construction. In conjunction with the Senegalese Department of Water and Forestry, CREATE! field staff led training sessions in communities such as Darou Diadji, Mboss, Walo, Keur Sarra, Gagnick Mack, and Gossas.
This year, CREATE!’s partner communities expanded their garden sites, improved their crop production, and received additional training from our field staff. In many villages, beneficiaries started tree nurseries and then, during the rainy season, transplanted the tree seedlings to sites throughout their communities. In addition, field technicians helped community members establish living fences in Diender and Fass Koffe.
Although much of Senegal suffered from a drought in summer 2014, CREATE!’s partner communities continued to thrive thanks to access to abundant water. Our villages enjoyed an excellent harvest of watermelon, eggplant, pepper, tomato, and other crops. Cooperative groups were also able to save and invest their money through Voluntary Savings and Lending Associations (VSLA). The VSLA in both Diender and Fass Koffe completed their first annual savings and lending cycle in late spring 2014. In Ouarkhokh, the cooperative built a poultry shed and has raised over 200 chickens for sale at local markets!
CREATE!’s field staff is incredibly inventive. In spring 2014, our staff found an innovative and ingenious solution to halt hungry locusts – mosquito nets spread over crops. Our field technicians also led trainings in garden composting and helped beneficiaries make their own pesticides from free, local, organic ingredients.
The most exciting news of 2014 was our new partnerships with the communities of Walo, Gagnick Mack, and Darou Diadji, made possible by a grant from the Vibrant Village Foundation. In December, CREATE! Executive Directory Barry Wheeler and Chief Operating Officer Louise Ruhr traveled to Senegal to meet with leaders from these communities and to formalize this new partnership. CREATE! is incredibly excited about this new opportunity!
Thank you to our donors for making this all possible! With your support, our 2015 should be just as bright. Happy New Year!