agricultural projects

Thread Gardens

Moussa Sene, with the help of Habib, Augustin, and Brian, has developed the gardens surrounding Thread's for multiple functions. First, and most significant, was the galvanizing of an association of Sinthian women to begin making use of the new land and water access for planting personal crops. Meeting under the eaves of Thread, this association began small, but quickly grew to over 100 members once the positive economic impact became clear to other villagers. The Sinthian Women's Association has elected its own director and treasurer, to organize its members in using the new basins to water their gardens, and taking the flourishing crops of okra, eggplant, chile, corn and more to the market in Tambacounda. Moussa and his team have been integral in sharing agricultural and gardening techniques like crop turn-over, as well as the most efficient way of using arithmetic to keep balanced records of their profits all of which go directly to the women and their association. 

Thread's gardens are also used as a training facility, with some areas dedicated to more advanced gardening techniques like mulching and composting; techniques that can and are shared with like-minded groups of gardeners in the region. 

 

Soap Project

A nun from a neighboring village came for a weeklong residency last year. She taught a large group of women how to make soap from materials we had provided for 80.000CFA (about $160). They sold the soap they made for a profit, invested that in an area of land to grow peanuts, and have now begun harvesting the peanuts with an expected yield at the market of over 350.000CFA (over $700). It is up to them what happens with this money. But the peanut field will remain, so that the 80.000CFA investment in materials for a craft taught by a resident became a sustainable source of income without any further involvement on Thread's part. Soap making in Sinthian continues, and the Sinthian Women’s Association has now gone on to two neighboring villages to teach them the craft as well. 

 

Sinthian Women's Association Peanut Field

The leader of Sinthian's Women Assocaition, with Moussa Sene, negotiated with Sinthian's village chief to receive a hectare of land in order to continue their peanut harvesting made possible by the soap project described above. Unprecedented in the area thus far, the women now have further sustainable yearly income via their own program. 

 

FURther agricultural programs

The effect of Thread's agricultural presence is felt well outside of Sinthian's boundaries. As described above, the association of women from Sinthian have shared their new work and techniques with neighboring villages. One of these villages is Dialico, located a few kilometers south of Sinthian, whose distance from the river too makes it difficult to access water. The presence of trained agricultural experts in the rural area has allowed new garden projects to flourish, in this case directly to benefit the local school. Women from the village harvest their own plot of land, a percentage of the profit going to purchasing items for the school like a new cookstove to provide lunch for the students. In addition, Edouard Diallo, the director of the elementary school has combined geometry courses with agricultural projects for the students, teaching them how to find the area of different shapes while growing their first okra crop. 

The program in Dialico is just one example of these agricultural projects, many of which, while originally spearheaded by our team, have taken on a direction and management of their own. For more information, please contact Moussa Sene at msene@aflk.org