Senegal Article

Women’s groups in rural Senegal are putting fresh vegetables back on the menu

In the commune of Oudallaye in eastern Senegal, women’s groups from the village of Gassé Safalbé are working to improve the diversity of nutritious food available for local communities. This initiative, funded by the European Union, has revolutionised the dietary habits within the target villages through ensuring year-round access to fresh vegetables.

Women's Advancement Group, Senegal
Women's Advancement Group in Oudallaye, Senegal showing the wear and tear inflicted on their hands as a result of having to drag water buckets up a 65 metre well each day.

Reinforcing food security and improving nutrition

Located ten kilometers from the nearest vegetable supply market, residents of Gassé Safalbé village, Oudallaye, face extreme isolation coupled with poor water access. Women, who take the lead in household water collection, are forced to draw water by hand from a 65-metre deep well. A difficult task illustrated by the damaged hands which they present to their visitors.

To help residents of Oudallaye overcome the limitations of their difficult geography, ACTED selected 30 villages to receive technical and material support to strengthen food and nutrition security. ACTED chose the villages on the basis of their composition, the level of interest in participation, and the potential of surrounding soil to support such an initiative. Activities included market gardening, agriculture, cereal and fruit processing, milk processing and storage, the manufacture of enriched flours, the establishment of granaries for cereal storage, school gardens, and vegetable and fish distribution.

 

Senegalese women stand next to water well
With the installation of the solar water pump, the women of the village have much easier access to water, leading to vastly improved crop yields.

Despite the semi-desert conditions of Gassé Safalbé, one of the initiatives has succeeded in producing vegetables throughout the year.

A group for the advancement of women

To maximize the positive impacts of this initiative, ACTED made use of a women’s advancement group, already active in Gassé Safalbé. The purpose of this group is to leverage the social capital of female community members to mobilize the wider community into taking part in social initiatives.

Senegal, Communal gardens
Communal gardens provide a locally managed source of livelihoods, while also improving the nutritional diversity enjoyed by the local community.

Seeds and agricultural equipment

In February 2018, ACTED provided the Gassé Safalbé women’s advancement group with seeds and agricultural equipment, in addition to fences and a door to secure a communal garden. However, as the main difficulty remained access to water, the group benefited from a solar kit, allowing the extraction of water from the well without the need for human hands. ACTED also constructed three water storage basins. This allowed these women to carry out their cultivation activities throughout the year. The women of the group worked with ACTED’s teams to define their entrepreneurial strategy in order to best meet the needs of the local market and ensure the sustainability of the project.

ACTED technicians installing solar kits to allow the powered extraction of water from the well.

 

This project is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund. The content of this document is the only responsibility of ACTED and can in no way be considered as reflecting the views of the European Union.

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