Heat radiates off the orange, sandy earth and several acacia trees cast small shadows in the afternoon sun. The desert stretches as far as the eye can see outside of the Ndiagne Kahone, a rural village in the Fatick-Kaolack region of Senegal. Through abundant access to clean water and organic agriculture techniques learned from CREATE!’s technicians, women from Ndiagne Kahone will turn this land into a lush, thriving oasis year-round.
On June 26, 2020 CREATE! signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the community of Ndiagne Kahone. Cheif Serigne Touba and future Cooperative Garden president, Madam Ndeye Diagne signed the MOU with CREATE!. This marks the start of a partnership as the community enters a new era of sustainable development. “The whole community is delighted with this partnership, the expectation is very great and we have given them the assurance of respecting all of our commitments.” Says CREATE! Country Director, Omar Ndiaye Seck.
The Endless Benefits of Clean Water
Water is the center of CREATE!‘s programs and the foundation of economic success in rural Senegal. In an area where for nine months out of the year communities do not see a drop of rain, it’s true what they say, l’eau ç’est vie, water is life. Access to abundant clean water means that families do not have to rely on the commercial tap water system which burdens families with health and financial costs. Many people have told us how salty the water is from the system which has brought on health issues such as hypertension. CREATE!‘s promise to Ndiange Kahone, as well as all of our partner communities, is ensure clean water year-round by rehabilitating the village’s abandoned well.
Most communities in rural Senegal abandoned their wells about 40 years ago for the commercial water systems provided by the government. Unfortunately, commercial water is cost-prohibitive for vegetable gardening. This means that many people farm only during the three-month rainy season, then look for work in urban areas or abroad for the rest of the year, often leaving families and children behind. However, thousands of the old wells remain, offering untapped potential as sources of clean, affordable water that people can use year-round for agriculture.
The Rehabilitation of the Ndiagne Kahone Well
At the beginning of June, the CREATE! team began the rehabilitation process of Ndiagne Kahone’s 67 meter well. They started with clearing out the dirt and trash which had collected at the bottom, and making necessary repairs. “It was a bit difficult since the diameter of the well is 1.5 meters, which means that the interior is very narrow. But we managed to repair the walls and remove all the dirt,” Seck explains. Cleaning out a deep and narrow well can be incredibly challenging and tedious work. However, in 2017, the CREATE! team worked with a local fabricator to design a human-powered winch system that could lower people and equipment down into the wells to clean them out and rehabilitate them.
After the cleaning phase is finished, CREATE! will install a solar-powered pumping system to pump water from deep in the well into above-ground storage areas. This includes a 5,000-liter reservoir for drinking water and numerous water basins in Ndiagne Kahone’s future community garden. This garden site will provide hundreds of families with fresh produce every day as well as the opportunity to sell excess vegetables in the market. This way, men and women can earn income from their communities instead of migrating to cities and other countries. Their children will be able to learn from their sustainable practices and continue supporting the community’s self-sufficiency for generations to come.
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