Fatou Diouf is a mother of four living in the rural village of Diender. Each morning, Fatou walks to the community garden from her hut. She joins the other village women in the site where they begin their daily work. At the end of the day, Fatou carries home a variety of fresh vegetables and two 20-liter bottles of clean water for her family. She tells us, “The availability of vegetables in the village gives me the possibility to cook a big quantity for my children.” Fatou works hard to improve her family’s health and food security because she didn’t always have easy access to fresh vegetables or clean water.
Before Diender had a community garden, Fatou tells us that she used to shop at the Gossas market. A large and expensive weekly market that is a little over 3 miles away from her village. With family obligations and cooking to be done, it wasn’t always easy to find time to go to the market. Now, Fatou says, “We have a garden where we grow a variety of vegetables. We are able to sell the excess in the Gossas market.” After providing fresh vegetables for her family, Fatou has the opportunity to generate income from the extra produce that she harvested. In fact, all families in Diender have this opportunity as well. Fatou tells us, “Each one of us has the capacity to manage a garden site. Thanks to [CREATE!’s] technicians we have got the skills and knowledge to work for ourselves.” Diender graduated two years ago from CREATE!’s five your program and is now self-sufficient. Fatou says, “CREATE! technicians have taught me all the techniques I need to work and support my family.”
Fatou also takes her family’s health and well-being into account when it comes to her cooking. Fatou cooks nutritious meals for her family full of a variety of vegetables from the garden. “Since I’ve been growing vegetables myself in the village, I get sick very rarely because we don’t use chemical product,” Fatou describes. Fatou cooks all of her meals on her sustainable Improved Cookstove. She describes, “The Improved Cookstove brings security to the village because it is built in a way that the flames can’t get out.”
Normally, women in rural Senegal spend over half of their day preparing meals. However, with the Improved Cookstove Fatou now has more time to spend with her family and work on income generating activities This way, Fatou spends less time collecting firewood and preparing meals for her family. “This cookstove is better than the old method because the time cooking is very quick, and I have the possibility to do other things.”
Managing a Poultry Shed
With new skills comes new opportunities. For the first time, Diender is successfully managing a poultry shed in the community! Chicken is an excellent source of protein but Fatou and her family rare had the chance to eat it. Today, however, Fatou manages her own poultry shed in the village of Diender and tells us, “Now, we have access to chicken and we don’t have any problems for the holidays.” It is common during Senegalese holidays to share traditional meat dishes with friends and family. Fatou can sell her chicken to neighbors and nearby communities, especially during Senegal’s holiday seasons.
Fatou and Diender’s success didn’t come without trial and error, but Fatou always remained positive and tenacious. She says, “We can’t have success without constraints, but the importance is to try to find solutions.” Communities success depends on the mindset of its members, and we are so proud to be working with such determined and driven individuals!