We often hear from beneficiaries in our well-established partner communities — but what is it like for those in a new partner community that is just starting out in our programs? This week, we got to speak with Anta Niang, 35, of Back Samba Dior, a village located in Senegal’s peanut basin. Back Samba Dior joined CREATE! in late 2016, and many of its programs have just gotten started in the last few months. Anta is the president of the garden cooperative, which has recently begun producing enough vegetables to eat and sell on the market.

As a new partner community, getting access to enough water for their crops is still a challenge, but Anta is looking forward to having better access to water soon. In the past, she says “All the vegetables we ate in the village came from Kaolack or Guinguineo, but we have recently started eating vegetables grown in our own village, and already I notice that my family’s health is improving.” She adds, “Despite the difficulty of getting enough water sometimes, we have been harvesting enough vegetables for domestic consumption, and selling the rest in the Guinguineo weekly market.”

Anta Niang works in the garden of the new partner community

With the start of their cooperative garden, Anta notes that fewer women are leaving the village to find work, because they can now make a living in their own community.

With the profits from the vegetables they sell, they’re starting to see the money add up in their cooperative’s cash box. Seeing this, Anta is now excited to get involved with the VSLA program once it starts up in her community. “I have heard the impact of VSLAs in other CREATE! communities and I plan to participate, because right now we don’t have the possibility to save money in the village,” she says.

“As president of the cooperative I would not stop encouraging women to work, because it is for our own development.” She then added, “What I really want to say is that I thank the CREATE! team for their good work and patience with rural communities, because it is not easy to work with the challenges we face.” We extend our gratitude to Anta for her great leadership so far in helping get Back Samba Dior’s garden growing, and organizing the women in her community to make it a success!