Coumba Dady KA is fighting for positive change in Senegal through the creation of polyvalent gardens with fellow women. The garden’s final goal is to ensure food diet diversification and increased financial autonomy thanks to the engagement of these women.
The polyvalent gardens are parallel projects to the great green wall project in order to combat desertification. These gardens were set up and are managed in consultation with the women living in the villages across the Great Green Wall. These determined women have formed various Economic Interest Groups. The aim of these gardens is to allow the cultivation of fruits and vegetables throughout the year, to provide food security to different villages across the Great Green Wall.
These gardens should provide enough food for self-consumption as well as enabling villagers to diversify their diet. Moreover, they have the possibility to sell their surplus crops at weekly markets. This initiative thus enables women to achieve a new social and financial autonomy, as well as to develop their expertise in agriculture.
In a Sahelian environment where desertification and climate change are accentuated by human activities. Lack of water, economic difficulties, food poverty and geographical isolation are the main (and not negligible) difficulties faced by the women and men of the Senegalese Sahelian territories.
The multi-purpose gardens have enabled the production of fruits and vegetables and of course, their consumption within households. This has allowed, therefore, unprecedented food diversification within the villages of the Senegalese Sahel. In addition, the surplus fruit and vegetables produced are sold at local markets by the women who manage the gardens, thus enabling the creation of a new cash economy previously non-existent in the area. This gives these women a new financial and social autonomy. As Ms Coumba Dady KA said in November 2019 during an interview:
“If I take our diet as an example, it has improved considerably after the harvest [of Widou’s multi-purpose garden], because we eat fresh produce. […] I think it’s good for your health. Economically too, many women have been able to create economic activities from the tontine system (community micro-credit) that we had initiated with the proceeds from the sales of market garden produce.”
There are currently nine multi-purpose gardens in Senegal located along the Great Green Wall. The Widou Thiengoly multi-purpose garden is the one managed by the carrier of this project: Ms. Coumba Dady KA. These gardens impact villages at large in terms of food security, diversification and extra generation of revenues.
The most important challenges concern the supply of water (from the nearby borehole), as well as vegetable and fruit plants. All these challenges are related to the financial means necessary for the development of such an initiative.
In the next two or three years, the main goal is to ensure the sustainability of these gardens and to enable women to consolidate their new place. Enabling these women to have enough money to provide water and plants for their gardens is the sine qua non for the success of this project.
Ideally, however, they could also benefit from training to enable them to better cultivate these gardens.
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