Every day, CREATE!’s field team in Senegal works with partner communities to help them manage their community gardens, VSLA groups, poultry sheds, and tree planting campaigns, as well as facilitating improved cookstove trainings. On top of this, over the last couple months they were also busy hosting visitors who came to see the incredible work they’ve been doing over the years with CREATE!.

For both CREATE! field staff and visitors, it was an exciting opportunity to reach out across cultures, languages, and borders to gain new perspectives and appreciate each other’s work.

Ron Taylor, Pam Taylor, Margot Kenly, and CREATE! Executive Director Louise Ruhr visited the community of Thieneba in late January. Pam conveyed her gratitude for visiting the village and how impressed she was by the work of the cooperative members in their garden.

CREATE! Executive Director Louise Ruhr arrived in late January to spend six weeks with the team, helping to host guests and collaborate with the field staff on their ongoing work and projects.  Their first visit in January was from CREATE! Board Chair Ron Taylor and his wife Pam, along with their close friend Margot Kenly, of Seattle, WA. Ron, Pam, and Margot got the whirlwind tour, visiting all 13 of CREATE!’s partner communities in a week!

Ron especially enjoyed speaking with the technicians about their progress on the well rehabilitations and solar-powered pumping systems that have transformed the garden sites across CREATE!’s partner communities.


Louise and Andrea spent time with Codou Gadji, CREATE! Agricultural Technician, learning about her work with the graduated community of Fass Kane.

In early February, CREATE! Communications Coordinator Andrea Willingham visited for two weeks to film and provide visual storytelling and photography training to staff, as well as to get to know the communities, beneficiaries, and the field team.

Nicki Maxwell, founder of the Eugene chapter of Dining for Women, and CREATE! Board Member Joyce Leader visited a number of partner communities with CREATE!’s field staff, learning about their various sustainability projects, challenges, and achievements.

CREATE! Board Member Joyce Leader, and Nicki Maxwell, founder of the Eugene chapter of Dining for Women visited in late February. Nicki was grateful to be there during the graduation ceremony of Thieneba, a community partnership that Dining for Women had helped to fund back in 2013. For Joyce, it was a rewarding opportunity to get to personally meet our staff and beneficiaries, and to see firsthand the impact that CREATE! has had on the lives of people in rural Senegal.

Joyce valued the opportunity to get to know the staff members on CREATE!’s field team.

Having been a longtime supporter of CREATE!, Nicki was thrilled to get to meet the staff and beneficiaries in person, and to see the work they have put in to each of the partner communities she visited.


David Laub and Fred Auch met with CREATE! Agricultural Technician Charlotte Diedhiou in Mboss, among other communities, to learn about how villages partner with CREATE! and work towards sustainability.

The last visitors to CREATE!’s field office were David Laub and Fred Auch of the Bellevue Rotary Club in Washington state.  In addition to touring CREATE! partner communities, David and Fred also visited several local Rotary clubs in Senegal.

Fred was especially interested in the solar energy system used in CREATE!’s partner communities. In Thieneba, CREATE! Field Assistant Pape Ba demonstrated how to adjust the solar panels, with the help of Fred and CREATE! Country Director Omar Ndiaye Seck, pictured above.

Although it was a busy month for everyone at CREATE!, it was also energizing and inspiring to get to share our projects with so many people, face to face. CREATE!’s field staff appreciated the opportunity to meet so many supporters who admire their work, while visitors appreciated the chance to get to meet the amazing team working to improve lives in rural Senegal.