Modou Ndiaye, 39, lives in Walo with his wife and five children. Before CREATE! partnered with Walo to provide training in sustainable agriculture, Modou experienced unemployment in rural Senegal for most of the year. He was only able to work in his family’s fields during the rainy season, and says he “stayed at home for the whole dry season without anything to do.” Now, Modou says, he “works in the garden site every day” to support his family.
For the past several years, the rate of unemployment in rural Senegal has hovered around 50 percent. There are almost no job opportunities for men like Modou in rural Senegalese communities. Many young men are leaving for the city or even trying to illegally migrate to Europe to seek better lives. Rural residents need access to water and training in sustainable agriculture and income generating activities so they can continue to support their families while remaining in their communities. Our programs empower women and men to take charge of their economic futures. Now, men like Modou are able to work full-time without leaving their families and their villages.
Modou is an active member of Walo’s agricultural cooperative. He praises the benefits of access to fresh, locally grown vegetables in his community. He says, “Now everyone in the village eats more vitamins and a healthier diet because we eat vegetables that we grow together in our garden site.” He is proud to work in the village’s garden site alongside his wife and neighbors. “CREATE!’s programs have brought together our community. Everyone works together to make Walo a better place.”
Men participate in all of CREATE!’s agricultural cooperatives, but young men in Walo are particularly active. Currently, there are 23 women and 20 men working in Walo’s cooperative. When men are active participants in CREATE! activities, they typically encourage their wives, sisters, and daughters to also participate. Because men feel included and appreciated, they are pleased that their wives can also be part of CREATE!’s training programs. Men are also happy to have the opportunity to work with CREATE!’s highly trained field technicians, who are good role models for ambitious young men.