Khady Ndiaye is a mother of five in the rural village of Fass Koffe. Each day at sunrise, she steps out of her hut with her youngest child on her back. Khady walks to the community garden where she joins the other women in the site. They work in the garden every day so that their village and families can have fresh vegetables year-round.
Year-Round Gardens Improve Livelihoods
Before Khady learned how to sustain a year-round garden, she tells us she used to travel to the distant Kaolack market. Here, she would purchase expensive vegetables imported from other regions. These trips normally took a full day since transportation ranged from traveling by foot, donkey cart, or the back of a motorcycle. Khady rarely made these trips since they were time consuming, expensive, and she had to leave her children at home.
Now, Khady no longer needs to leave her family in order to provide for them. She tells us, “I have the possibility to work in my community.” Khady can now grow vegetables and earn an income from her village. “Each beneficiary has the possibility to grow her own vegetables for feeding her children and selling the excess in the market,” she says.
Supporting a Healthy Diet
Vegetables have greatly improved her family’s diet. “Now we eat more vegetables thanks to the community garden. Since then we become healthier because our vegetables are very natural,” Khady explains. Since the community only uses organic agriculture methods, the vegetables they eat and grow are healthier for the environment and themselves. Khady adds, “My family’s meals have improved.”
Now she is able to cook fresh, hearty meals for her family every day with the vegetables she grows. Khady cooks for her family of five over two improved cookstoves that she built herself in her kitchen. Improved cookstoves are a safer and more sustainable way of cooking than the traditional open fires. “We live in security since we have the cookstoves in the community,” Khady tells us.
Sustainable Cooking Saves Time
Khady’s improved cookstoves save her time, money, and trees. She tells us, “Since I started cooking with the cookstove, I no longer need to walk many miles for collecting wood in the forest. The cookstove is very economic because one lead of wood can last many months in the house.” Since Khady only uses two pieces of wood per meal, she no longer has to spend long hours collecting sticks in the forest or spending money on wood every week. The improved cookstove also cooks food much faster than the traditional open fire. “I don’t need to stay long in the kitchen now,” Khady tells us.
With more time, Khady can focus on projects that improve the livelihood of her family and create village self-sufficiency. “There are many activities in the community because there are many poultry sheds and women are growing vegetables in the site,” Khady describes.
Stories like Khady’s really go to show how deeply people’s lives can be affected through training and empowerment at the village level. This is the kind of success we want for women across all of our partner communities in rural Senegal. Consider helping more women like Khady by donating to CREATE! today.