Meet Lena Diop, the President of the Keur Ndiouga cooperative, an advocate for sustainability and the driving force behind her village’s transformation. For the past few years, Keur Ndiouga has been collaborating with CREATE! to combat climate change and create a better future. Before CREATE!’s intervention, Keur Ndiouga faced multiple challenges exacerbated by climate change. Lena recalled, “Our village faced many challenges related to climate change, including drought, land degradation, and difficulty accessing water.” These issues cast a shadow of uncertainty over the community’s future.

Recognizing the need for change, Keur Ndiouga initiated a reforestation program with the support of CREATE!, highlighting the importance of community engagement in ecosystem restoration and sustainable development. “We can feel the freshness in the site thanks to its transformation because it was empty and dry before,” Lena explained. The carefully chosen tree species, tailored to local conditions, provide a range of benefits to the community, from fruit production to firewood resources.

In addition to planting more trees, the community is also using less trees for firewood. “Thanks to CREATE!, we learned how to save the firewood we use for cooking with the improved cookstove that was the first program of the project,” Lena said. These improved cookstoves offer cleaner, more efficient cooking methods, reducing firewood consumption, minimizing smoke, and pollution, while also combating climate change, ultimately enhancing the community’s health and well-being and paving the way for a more sustainable future. Lena expressed her gratitude by noting, “The work of CREATE! has had a positive impact on our living conditions and has enabled us to better face the challenges of climate change in our rural community.”