Awa Leye, 86, says that her life has dramatically improved since she started participating in CREATE! programs in Darou Diadji two years ago, and has seen how the program is helping communities develop. She enjoys working in the village’s cooperative garden and is happy that her family is now able to eat fresh vegetables. “Before CREATE!, Awa says, “my family was eating meals of plain rice because we didn’t have any fresh vegetables.” With vegetables and access to water from Darou Diadji’s rehabilitated well, Awa also feels healthier and no longer suffers from knee pain.

Helping communities develop by growing food and herbs that they eat.

Many cooperatives grow and sell mint during the rainy season. Because Senegalese enjoy mint in their attaya tea but often have trouble finding fresh mint leaves, cooperative members have found it to be a lucrative rainy season crop.

Awa also praises other changes that CREATE! programs have brought to Darou Diadji. “Thanks to improved cookstoves, there is no longer deforestation in our village. Women no longer need to walk many miles to collect firewood because the stoves are so efficient,” Awa says. “When other NGOs came to Darou Diadji, they failed because their philosophy did not fit. We appreciate CREATE! because they know how to help communities develop forever.”