CREATE! Founder and Program Director Barry Wheeler has recently completed a supervisory and training visit to our staff and communities in Senegal. He shares some of his updates with CREATE! supporters in this Senegal field report:

My recent trip to Senegal has given me the chance to see firsthand the great impact that CREATE! programs are having in our partner communities. CREATE!’s Country Director, Omar Ndiaye Seck, CREATE! field technicians, and I visited all eleven communities served by CREATE! to observe and appreciate program activities in all four of our primary sectors (water, food, energy & environment, and income generation). In each village we met with women’s groups, chiefs, and elders to hear about their successes and challenges. Overwhelmingly I heard successes. There is deep appreciation and gratitude for the work and intervention of CREATE! in all of the villages with whom we collaborate.

Senegal Field Report: Barry met with groups helping with the annual tree planting campaign

Barry Wheeler’s visit to Senegal coincided with this year’s tree planting campaign which results in the planting of thousands of trees to contribute to the reforestation of rural spaces.

We also continue to maintain excellent professional and working relationships with the civil administrative authorities, including our dynamic and very supportive partners in the Department of Water and Forestry in Guinguinao District.  These are, of course, very important relationships to nurture and respect, both culturally and in terms of governmental support and collaboration with CREATE! in their zones and in their Prefectures.  I paid courtesy visits to all of them, which they very much appreciated.

Most notably, I was excited to visit Darou Diadji and see the incredible transformation that has occurred there since my last visit in June of 2015. Cooperative members in Darou Diadji, such as 35-year-old Aida Gueye, talked about how life has improved in the village due to CREATE! programs: “I eat fresh vegetables with my family now and years ago that was impossible. I use the improved cookstove and I don’t need to collect firewood everyday; with a few pieces I can cook meals all day.” She also says, “CREATE! programs have changed Darou Diadji. Women used to stay in their houses without an occupation, but now thanks to CREATE! we are growing vegetables and raising chickens. The whole village drinks the clean well water and there is an improvement in people’s health. The VSLA gives us the opportunity to save money and we will be able to make loans.”

Senegal Field Reports: Aida Gueye appreciates the opportunities CREATE! has provided for women in her village.

Aida Gueye appreciates the opportunities CREATE! has provided for women in her village: “Women in this village are motivated and courageous,” she says, “we needed a program like CREATE!.”

Overall my visit was inspiring and reminded me of why we do what we do at CREATE!. Our work would not be possible without the dedication of our donors, and we thank you and appreciate your continued support of CREATE!.