“Every day, people across Senegal are cutting trees for firewood. This is why reforestation is very important for our future generations. Our parents planted trees that we are now using for shade and firewood. We must also plant trees for our children.” – Rokhaya Sene

CREATE!’s training programs are helping us transform our community.” In just the few months since CREATE! partnered with Mboss, Rokhaya Sene, 33, has leveraged the skills that she has learned from CREATE! technicians to improve the lives of her family and her community.

Before Mboss partnered with CREATE!, Rokhaya bought vegetables 39 kilometers away in the Kaolack market and then re-sold them to her neighbors at the small market in Mboss. Working as a vegetable seller helped Rokhaya support her children, but her income was low and she often did not have enough to feed her family of 6. Now, thanks to training from CREATE! technicians, Rokhaya knows how to grow her own vegetables. “We now have easy access to vegetables right here in our community,” Rokhaya says.  “My family’s diet and health has improved because we are eating more diverse vegetables that are richer in vitamins.” Rokhaya is thankful that she now has a job in her community selling vegetables that she grows in the garden site.

“We are practicing all of the skills that the agricultural technicians have taught us. I’m sure that we will be ready to manage our garden site after we graduate from CREATE!’s programs.”

Rokhaya also appreciates her new clay-sand improved cookstove. “Before I had my cookstove, I spent many hours preparing meals on an open fire. Now, not only do I use less firewood, I can also cook dinner in just one hour.” Rokhaya also believes that using an improved cookstove has improved safety in her home and in the Mboss community. Many homes in the village are made of straw, placing them at great risk for fire. Before women in Mboss learned how to build and use improved cookstoves, animals often started house fires by knocking over cooking pots that were balanced precariously on open fires. Rokhaya says, “We now feel more secure in our homes thanks to the improved cookstoves.”

For Rokhaya, participating in CREATE! programs means that she can now work to improve her family’s health and economic well-being.  Like trees, this knowledge is a legacy that she can pass to her children.