We recently reported our most recent round of farmer loans going out into the Keur Soce community. Here are some success stories of women and men who have been involved in the program. It is a fantastic program that can really benefit families across the community and we are excited about where this is going. Special thanks to our intern - Miriam - for these great borrower stories. Faour Djigo
Faour Djigo comes from a long line of farmers. She learned how to farm when she was younger from helping her family in fields, and now she teaches the children in her family. Especially in rural areas, like Fass Tocouleur where Faour lives, farming may be a family’s primary source of income, so everyone, including women and children, help out in the fields.
With a loan from Andando, Faour has been able to increase her own plot in her family’s field. She is a peanut farmer and now, with her loan, can buy additional seeds to plant on more area. Faour earns a small profit from the extra harvest she is able to sell after she saves part for her family’s consumption. But Faour told me that life can be difficult, so she makes sure to put money aside just in case. Faour saves half of her profits to be used in case of emergencies, like if a family member falls ill or her peanut crop fails. The other half she uses to buy ducks or goats that she breeds and sells for additional profit. Faour is now on her third loan with Andando, and she always feels prepared to deal with life’s uncertainties.
Adam (pronounced ah-dah-m) Ndaw, one of Faour Djigo’s daughters, lives in the village of Fass Toucouleur, not far from Keur Soce. Though Fass Toucouleur and Keur Soce are only separated by a few kilometers, they are composed of different ethnic groups who speak different languages. Fass Toucouleur is predominantly Fula and Pulaar-speaking, while Keur Soce is predominantly Wolof and Wolof-speaking. Though Adam is of the Fula ethnic group and speaks Pulaar as her mother tongue, she also speaks Wolof as it is invaluable should she travel to a neighboring village.
Adam is married, though her husband lives in Spain for work and she lives in Senegal with his family. This is an unfortunate reality for many women in Senegal, whose husbands must travel far for work and leave their wives and family behind. Adam and her two twin sons live with her husband’s family to help out with the housework and upkeep of the family.
Adam earns money from her small business selling soaps. She sells powdered soap and bar soap from her home. After her first loan of 25,000CFA (about $50) with Andando, which she used to purchase more soap, Adam used her profits to buy chicks that she raised for her family’s consumption as well as to sell in the village. Adam’s chicken business gives her family additional income from the sales as well as additional nutrients for their diet; in many rural villages in the area, meals consist of mainly millet with little other added ingredients to provide nutrition, as other additives like fruits and vegetables are relatively expensive when cooking for large Senegalese families. Adam has recently received her third loan with Andando, and both her soap and chicken businesses are thriving.
On Tuesday, the market day in Keur Soce, I met with Ibou Codou Ndiaye among the hustle and bustle of buying, selling, and bargaining. Ibou is a peanut and millet farmer and also raises livestock, like donkeys that can help cultivate in the fields or pull carts to transport goods. Ibou is currently on his third loan of 60,000CFA (about $120) with Andando, which he used to purchase peanut seeds for his fields. Before working with Andando, Ibou often did not have enough money to buy enough seed. Now, he doesn’t worry about providing for his family with the income he earns from farming.
Ibou has even started to innovate his farming techniques to maintain a steadier profit throughout the year. With his most recent loan, Ibou purchased two different types of peanut seeds. One type of seed will germinate in two months, and the other in three or four months. A diversified harvest means steady peanut sales and a steady income for Ibou, his two wives, and eight children.
With his increased profits, Ibou has been able to purchase a small cow that helps him cultivate in the fields, which drastically cuts down on the manual labor that he and his children must carry out while farming. In addition, Ibou must no longer pay to borrow a cow to assist with cultivation. Ibou plans on using the profits from this harvest to purchase goats or sheep to breed in preparation for Tabaski, the Senegalese name for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha that will take place in October. Senegalese generally celebrate Tabaski by killing and eating sheep and goats, so Ibou is preparing early for the business that is sure to come.