Year 2 at Guede Chantier, Moundouwaye, Lahel and Diarra
The second year has closed with a remarkable success. The combination of learning activities and communities engagement has changed the food landscape, empowered women, increased climate resilience, and enhanced their livelihoods. Furthermore we installed 5 pumps and 14 hectares worth of fencing. A big year all in all!
In Diarra 126 women engaged in the permaculture garden and 115 men involved in the agroforestry have closed the second year with a garden bursting with a large variety of vegetables such as onions, tomatos, lettuce, egg-plant, carrot, turnip, big and small chili, pepper, combo, melon, papaya, bananas and more. Women associate their good health and well-being with the quality of the food since they are only using organic approaches to food growing.
Similar progress is occurring in Moundouwaye, where 106 women are engaged in the permaculture garden of 2.5 hectares and 166 women developing 2 hectares of agroforestry. The year ended with the largest harvest in the history of the village where women practicing agro-ecological approaches promoted by the project have turned their arid soil into productive again. They notice that they haven’t been to the market to buy food for a whole season.
In Guede Chantier 215 empowered women are working in the permaculture garden of 1.25 hectares and utilising natural pesticides including fish tonic, and both liquid and solid manure are in use. Part of the plot has been suffering from soil salinization and local techniques will be adopted in the next growing season including mulching and saline prone plants such as peanuts and sweet potato to counteract this challenge.
In Lahel women developing 1 hectare of permaculture garden are growing onions, cabbages, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, turnip, beetroot, chilly, egg-plant, mint… and men have helped to fence the agroforestry plots awaiting for the irrigation system to be installed to start the plantations.
Milestone 1: Agroforestry Training
Conducted by Agroforestry Expert Mohamed Marigo in April 2015, the training aimed to strengthen the communities’ ability to manage their agricultural land through agroforestry technologies, to improve farm productivity and increase their availability to nutritious foods.
Topics included: substrate preparation, technical forestry nursery, hole digging, composting, mixed cropping and plantation. By the end of the course villagers were able to start preparing their agroforestry plots by applying new composting techniques, developing natural pest management techniques with materials available locally.
The training was followed by monthly mentoring sessions to support the ongoing development of the four plots mainly managed by the community men apart from Moundouwaye village.
See more photos of the Agroforestry course here.
Milestone 2: Permaculture Design Course
Conducted by Permaculture Trainer Pradyut Nayek the second permaculture design course has taken place in August 2015 building upon the land restoration achievements taken place so far. The skills taught included: creating rectangular beds covered in biomass, inviting worms and other insects to soften and feed from the biomass to produce compost; the difference between soil texture and structure; the complementary plants and the correct amount to plant on one plot.
See more photos of the course here.
Milestone 3: Change Agent Training
Harnessing the leadership demonstrated by some villagers this learning activity, which took place in September 2015, provided a group of 50 change agents the skills to guide and lead change within their communities by creating health-restoring diversified gardens. Participants have also developed the skills necessary to lead field demonstrations in the Permaculture Festival to engage the wider community.
Milestone 4: Permaculture Festival
In September 2015 the Project Change Agents gathered at a festival to showcase the key achievements of the project, and share the lessons learnt to raise awareness among wider communities. Tours of the villages and small peer-to-peer training sessions in Permaculture design were provided to equip new villagers with the basic skills necessary to start rehabilitating the impoverished soils of the Podor region.
Milestone 5: Food Processing and Preservation Training
To close the project’s second year and to take advantage of the large harvest the training was conducted with 30 women from Diarra and Moundouwaye over five days. They have learnt food preservation techniques for onion, chili cabbage, carrot and turnip, egg-plant and how to enrich flour with millet, maize, rice, cowpea and peanuts. Women learnt a wide variety of food processing techniques including couscous from sweet potatoes, flour from cassava, flour from millet and maize, ginger juice, rice, turnip, ginger cakes.
See more photos of Year 2