A blanket of gray clouds hovers above the desert, promising rain after nine-months of relentless sun and heat. For the next three months, rain will bring rural communities the opportunity to replenish their water sources and continue to grow diverse vegetables.
Each year during the rainy season, CREATE! hosts an annual tree-planting campaign. Before the campaign, our partner communities across three different regions in rural Senegal carefully grow saplings in their nurseries. These saplings will be planted within in the community or traded with other villages so that more people can enjoy the benefits of the trees. CREATE! field technicians facilitate the tree planting activities, advising community members on best practices for where to plant trees, what varieties to grow, and how to maintain them so they can put down strong roots before the next dry season begins in October. As desertification continues, these tree-planting campaigns become even more crucial for rural communities and their surrounding environments.
Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future in Mbossedji
This year, one of CREATE!’s newer partner communities, Mbossedji, will be participating in the tree-planting campaign for the first time! Ndeye Diop, Mbossedji’s Community Garden president says, “We know the importance of trees and with CREATE!‘s support we will plant many trees in the village. These trees will create a good microclimate and much shade in the future.”
As Community Garden president, Diop leads activities such as the tree-planting campaign with the assistance of CREATE!’s technicians. After training with our technicians for four years, Diop and the community will continue these sustainable activities on their own. “I hope for a big change in my village. I wish for the continuity of this project and that our children will use it in the future,” Diop tells us. “I like my position as a leader and I always encourage my group to work.”
Paying it Forward with the Tree-Planting Campaign
Diop and the other women in Mbossedji recently started their community gardening project at the beginning of 2020. Starting the garden came with multiple challenges such as beginning composting, pest protection, and fencing. “The trees we got for our (live) fence came from other CREATE! communities,” Diop explains. CREATE!’s tree-planting campaign focuses on not only creating lush, microclimates in rural communities but also supporting neighboring villages too. Diop says, “there are many people who need trees, it is necessary for the environment. So I hope we will start thetree planting campaign and share the plants with people who need it too.” This year, Mbossedji will be able to pay forward their own trees to other rural communities in need! Protecting the environment is something we should all be a part of.
Protecting the Environment and the Future
As the Community Garden president and a mother supporting a family of 10, Diop values building a sustainable future in her community for generations to come. Part of building a better future for her children is protecting the environment today. “The desert is moving forward, the weather is very hot, and we notice the lack of rain,” Diop describes. As desertification increases, rural communities can fight back by planting trees every rainy season and replacing what they use. “We use many trees for our needs and it is an inconvenience for the environment,” Diop says. Trees are a part of everyday life in Mbossedji from providing fruits, shade, medicine, firewood and more. By leading her community in an annual tree-planting campaign, Diop will be paving the way for the next generation to continue building a healthier environment.