Without access to an affordable source of water, year-round vegetable cultivation is impossible in Senegal, where the annual dry season is nine months long. June marks the end of the long dry season, but the rains have not yet arrived. In four of CREATE!’s partner communities, garden cooperative members now have year-round access to affordable and abundant sources of fresh water, provided by solar-powered pumping systems and gravity-fed irrigation networks installed by CREATE! field technicians and community members.
With the solar pumping system in place, women no longer need to travel long distances to find water or draw water from a deep well by hand. Access to clean, abundant water has permitted year-round agricultural activity. The garden cooperative in Diender just harvested turnips, peppers, and eggplant. Eggplants require a lot of water, but cooperative members in Thieneba have recently transplanted their eggplants with success. In May, garden cooperatives in both Diender and Thieneba each cultivated more than 600 square meters of vegetables.
In Fass Koffe and Fass Kane, cooperative members have harvested tomatoes, turnips, carrots, eggplants, peppers, bananas, and parsley during the past three months. These women will use the vegetables to supplement their families’ diets and will then sell excess produce at a local market. By providing reliable access to water, CREATE! has helped cooperative members grow vegetables to improve nutrition and provide a much needed source of household income.