One of the most gratifying aspects of our work in rural Senegal is getting to see the literal transformation of communities throughout their partnership with CREATE!. Each community has its own unique characteristics, challenges, and advantages, but it’s always surprising how fast they start to transform once they begin implementing the various interventions of the program.

Mboss is one such example. Just over a year ago, in May 2017 when they first partnered with CREATE!, the hectare of land that they selected for the garden cooperative site was barren and dry, scattered with just a couple green spots under some trees and scrubby bushes.

The Mboss garden site in May 2017 reflected the landscape around the village: dry, barren, and dusty.

The Mboss garden site in June 2018, just one year later, is blossoming with abundant vegetables, newly planted trees, and a well being pumped using solar power.

Thanks to their highly motivated cooperative president and village leaders however, they have surprised even themselves with the incredible change in their landscape that they’ve created, using sustainable and natural small-scale agricultural practices taught by CREATE!’s technicians. Despite a difficult dry season, they still managed to harvest over 270lbs of onions, over 40lbs of tomatoes, and 20lbs of okra over the last month alone.

Members of the Mboss community garden cooperative use a scale to weigh their harvest. The harvest will be portioned out to group members, who will share the food among their families and sell the surplus on the local market.

Now that the dry season is over, CREATE! field technicians are implementing the annual tree planting campaign in Mboss as well as in all partner villages. In Mboss last month, staff planted a fresh new row of trees near the Appropriate Technology Center and well system. Over the next few months and years, these trees will become tall enough to provide much needed shade, as well as fruits and nuts in the garden.

It’s all hands on deck during the annual tree planting campaign, and all CREATE! staff and field technicians get in on the action to plant as many tree seedlings as they can while the rainy season lasts.

 

Staff and technicians water the newly planted trees at the Mboss site as they wait for the rain. Fortunately, with their solar powered pump and rehabilitated well, the site has plenty of water to help the trees get started.

It’s exciting to see the Mboss cooperative group off to such a strong start during their first year of partnership with CREATE!. They set an excellent example for other communities with their great show of motivation, self-reliance, and willingness to learn. We can’t wait to look back in another year, and see how much more they will have grown!

Between 2017 (left) and 2018 (right), the Mboss garden site went from being a dry, sandy plot of land, to a lush, green, and thriving garden producing hundreds of pounds of vegetables every season of the year!

 

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