Santhie is no stranger to droughts, heat waves, and desertification. Located in the northern Louga region, this community faces intensified challenges in rural Senegal. However, the resilient men and women of Santhie have cultivated and sustained a diverse, year-round garden here in the desert. Through organic agriculture techniques taught by CREATE!’s technicians, the community has become a fruitful, green oasis. To continue their success and alleviate the challenges from the desert, Santhie recently installed a drip irrigation system.


A bountiful pepper harvest in Santhie.

Meeting New Challenges

Maintaining a large garden that provides food for the community and markets can put a strain on the women who regularly water, transplant, and care for the crops. In an area that remains dry for nine-months out of the year, women must hand-water the vegetables twice per day. This means that they haul heavy watering cans from the garden’s basin to each plant.

The Benefits of a Drip Irrigation System

However, in May of 2020, Santhie’s community garden group decided to install their own drip irrigation system. Using the money they earned from produce sales as well and their VSLA (Voluntary Savings & Lending Association), the group hired a drip irrigation technician to help with the installation of their new system. The drip irrigation system cuts down the labor and uses gravity to sufficiently water the vegetables, even the ones in the farthest corners of the garden! By cutting down a large portion of the work when it comes to maintaining a community garden, women are saving time and energy that they can put into other areas of need.

Continuing the Success of a Community Garden

The benefits of sustaining a year-round community garden are endless. Women are cooking nutritious meals for their families with the vegetables they grow. Neighboring villages know they can depend on Santhie to purchase fresh, diverse vegetables as well as saplings during the tree-planting campaign. “My children like the vegetables we grow in the garden site and say it is very sweet. I like cooking ceebu jen (rice and fish) with the vegetables,” Coura Diouf, a mother of four in Santhie tells us.

Although it can be hard work, Santhie’s community members meet challenges head-on with tenacity and creativity. “We welcome the initiative of the beneficiaries as well as their commitments to want to improve the site,” says Country Director, Omar Ndiaye Seck. “We always encourage those initiatives which show that the community takes into account their own development process.” We are thoroughly impressed with Santhie’s initiative to improve their development projects. Community members of Santhie have shown what can be accomplished using the philosophy and approach that CREATE! strives to achieve with its partner communities.

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Santhie’s VSLA is a women-run, local finance group. Being able to save money and take out loans within the village has expanded women’s opportunities to take on projects such as purchasing and installing a drip irrigation system!