Project-Based Learning: SenegalMilestones Year 1

 

Increasing Food Security, Income Generation and Environmental Sustainability for 4 villages in Northern Senegal through Sustainable Farming, Agroforestry and Sustainable Settlements Capacity Building

Guede Chantier, Moundouwaye, Lahel, and Diarra

The 4 key milestones for the first year of the project were:

  • Scenario Planning and Transition Training
  • Building skills in sustainable village design, permaculture and agroforestry
  • Identification of communal permaculture and agro-forestry plots
  • Preparing the land with fencing, irrigation systems, vetiver planting and collection of organic material to start regenerating the soil

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Milestone 1: Scenario Planning and Transition Training

Conducted by Transition Trainer and Educator May East, a total of four community consultation and training sessions were carried out to launch the project in Lahel, Diarra, Moundouwaye and Guédé with a session for women only.

Key outcomes included:

  • Identification of the impact of climate change in their lives
  • Comparison of food production between 3-decade-old practices and modern day
  • Identification of the produce they aspired to cultivate within the life-time of the project and beyond
  • Creation of a community vision and a plan of action

A narrative of the Scenario Planning written by May East was published in The Scotsman.

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Milestone 2: Permaculture Design Course

The first Permaculture Design Course was conducted in two parts December 2014 and February 2015 for 45 villagers representing the four communities. Conducted by Biologist and Permaculture Expert Prof Abdourahmane Tamba, the course introduced plants that are adapted to the harsh local conditions and can perform multiple ecosystems functions, at the same time, such as pest control, soil improvement or provision of fodder and firewood. The introduction of vetiver grass was adopted and vegetable garden plans were created to enable their lands to withstand floods, drought and climate change. The course involved practical and design sessions reinforcing the practices of permaculture. From the PDC course villagers started to develop plots in their villages.

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See more photos here.

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Milestone 3: Design for Sustainable Settlements course

Conducted by Community Development Trainer Pradyut Nayek, Design for Sustainable Settlements course engaged 90 participants from the four villages in March 2015. The course provided climate resilient techniques for food security and livelihood development.

At the end of the 10-day capacity building activities, participants were able to:

  • Recognise key concepts of sustainable farming to counteract soil erosion
  • Develop natural techniques for pest control and decrease pest susceptibility
  • Practice composting techniques for increased soil fertility
  • Design water collection techniques and apply them to enable the creation of a natural underground source in a few years
  • Use ecological and traditional methods of food production to sustain their crops
  • Explore creative and deductive design in the context of their settlements

 See photos here.

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Milestone 4: Fencing and Land Preparation

Once the agroforestry and permaculture plots were identified and design plans were created, land preparation became a key activity of Year 1. The first steps of the process were fencing, irrigation systems, vetiver planting and collection of organic material to restore health to the poor soils, provide erosion control, aid water conservation and support crop protection.

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