With the start of 2019, CREATE! is beginning a new phase in its development! At the end of 2018, co-founders Barry Wheeler and Louise Ruhr both retired from CREATE! to explore new avenues for the next phases of their lives. The Board of Directors and the CREATE! team profoundly appreciate the vision, commitment, and hard work of both Barry and Louise that moved CREATE! and its participatory development model from conception to reality. Their development strategy resulted in sustainable improvement to the lives and livelihoods of participating villagers in rural Senegal. We are all so proud to have been on this journey with Barry and Louise, and wish them well in their future endeavors.

new executive director

Michael Carson, our new ED, lived and worked in Senegal for five years.

Welcome, Merhbe, Bienvenue, Michael Carson!

To lead CREATE! into this next phase, the Board is pleased to announce the appointment of an outstanding candidate, Michael P. Carson, to the position of Executive Director. During his 25-year career in development in Africa, Michael has been effective at providing strategic advice and access to capital that has transformed agriculture enterprises, community-led health clinics and schools, and small businesses in emerging economies.

As a non-profit executive focused on economic and social development, Michael has worked in all the sectors CREATE! supports. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, he worked extensively with women’s groups in small business development. Water and wells were central to his work with Africare in Tanzania and Senegal. Renewable energy, solar water pumps and solar technology featured in his work in Zimbabwe.

Additionally, he has experience promoting income generating activities, agricultural projects, and intense tree planting. Michael previously lived and worked in Senegal for nearly five years, and in the past few years has worked throughout the African continent.

Continuing CREATE!‘s Mission

Michael is committed to ensuring the continuity of CREATE!’s unique development approach. He and the team are excited about developing new partnerships and new sources of funding to grow CREATE!. He is committed not only to continuing the vision, philosophy, and mission of this superbly successful integrated development project, but also to helping it expand to ever more villages and beneficiaries. Michael is just as excited to join us as we are to have him!

Below you will find a short Q&A session with him:

1. What attracted you to CREATE!?

I was impressed at how CREATE! empowers Senegalese communities to improve their lives through provision of clean water, development of community gardens, renewable energy and voluntary saving and credit associations for women to start income generation activities. It was impressive that CREATE! can work with communities to simultaneously solve multiple development challenges.

 2. What were your first impressions of CREATE!?

My first impressions of CREATE! were that it is an innovative, committed and efficient organization that works with and listens to the communities that it partners with to impact social and economic change in their lives. Our staff and board in Senegal and the U.S. are passionate about social change and partnering with Senegalese communities to improve their lives.

3. Why are you excited to join CREATE!?

I am excited to join CREATE! to re engage in Senegal, where I previously lived and worked with Africare and TREES for the Future, and to work with our board and staff to learn more about how our approach and activities can serve more communities in Senegal.

4. What are you excited about for CREATE!‘s future?

We have an opportunity to introduce our integrated rural development approach to more social investors throughout the U.S., Europe and West Africa. We will continue to refine our approach to measure how our training and technical assistance is improving communities’ nutrition and health outcomes. Finally, I am interested in exploring how we can expand CREATE!’s excellent work to neighboring West African countries like Guinea and Ghana in the next few years.

To the friends of CREATE!, thank you for your continuous support and incredible generosity. We are grateful for your invaluable contribution to helping CREATE! reach this point. We are counting on your continuing support to make this next phase of CREATE! a sustainable success!

new executive director