Thank You From a Father

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Mamadou Ka is a 50 year old husband, father and farmer in the community of Sama Toucouleur (about 2 miles NW of Keur Soce). A recent microloan recipient, Mamadou saw a plentiful harvest which allowed him to increase his farm and repay his loan. This loan will be given to another farmer in next month’s distribution.

We sat down with Mamadou to learn how he increased his farm and how this impacted both him and his community.

How did you use your loan?

When I received the funds, I used it to buy peanut seeds and other inputs to properly prepare for the winter farming season.

How was your harvest?

I harvested 1.6 [metric] tons of peanuts (just over 3,500 pounds)!!

What is the benefit to you and your family from this harvest?

With the sale of the peanuts [$425 USD] I was able to do a lot. I built two rooms onto my house for my family. We are very comfortable now and sheltered from the heavy and disastrous rains.

How have things changed in your community?

The community is really benefiting from the help of Andando. Besides myself, several other farmers also received loans this year to increase their outputs. The women of the village work a market garden set up on the outskirts of the village. With the produce they are able to feed their families and make an income. Two years ago a health post was completed to provide health care and allow women to give birth without having to walk the 3 kilometers [2 miles] into Keur Soce.

So, yes, the Andando funding has benefited me and my community.

I thank all the team of Andando: technicians who helped here in Sama Toucouleur; Mr. [Boubou] Sy who recommended the market garden, the health post, and selected the farmers to receive microloans; AND the donors in America, thank you!

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Info on microloans: For the last 10+ years, we have been investing in the economic development of rural Senegal in the form of microloans. These small, no-interest cash loans (usually around $100 USD) are used by the recipient to start a small business or otherwise actively pursue the opportunity to turn this small amount into something larger.

These small loans can have a huge impact, and they are almost always fully repaid with a paid back rate of around 98%. To date we have administered over 1,000 microloans.

Senegal Celebrates 59 Years of Independence

Boats flying the Senegal flag on Lac Rose (Pink Lake).

Boats flying the Senegal flag on Lac Rose (Pink Lake).

A young country, Senegal celebrates its 59th year of independence on April 4th.

In the 1500’s, various European nations were vying for control of the ports and trade in western Africa. In the end it was the French who would control Senegal for nearly 300 years.

During WWII, France promised its African colonies political independence in exchange for their service in the French military. In 1960, Senegal, along with 13 other colonies, gained its independence. (Click here for more on Senegal’s road to independence.)

Senegal’s first president, Leopold Senghor, with US President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Photo Credit: Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Senegal’s first president, Leopold Senghor, with US President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Photo Credit: Abbie Rowe. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

The political structure of Senegal can be described as democratic with presidential elections held every five years. Since 1960 there have been four presidents. Senegal recently held presidential elections where sitting President Macky Sall was elected for a second term.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

In honor of Senegal’s 59th anniversary of independence, local businesses are hosting benefits for Andando projects!

Join us at any (or all) of these great establishments on the designated date and Andando will receive a portion of proceeds to fund our projects.

Important Note: You may need to present a flyer (or screen-shot on your phone) at time of purchase.

 

APR 26th

Calapooia Brewing Co, Albany

(Click here for details.)

APR 29th

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Corvallis

(Click here for details.)

MAY 7th

Panera Bread, Salem

(Click here for details.)

 

Questions? info@andando.org or (541) 224-7990

A Day in the Life of a Senegalese Midwife

Last October, the construction of two new health posts in Batara Wolof and Keur Ngor was completed. To manage the new health posts, local midwives are elected by the community to take charge of each facility, turning concrete walls and wooden benches into a safe and relatively comfortable clinic for her patients.

A midwife proudly standing in the waiting area of a newly opened health post.

A midwife proudly standing in the waiting area of a newly opened health post.

Each midwife sorts and stores the medical supplies including donated scrubs, bandages, and antiseptic which are hard to come by in rural villages.

Medical volunteers with Andando distribute the new supplies as well as provide additional training.

Patients start arriving immediately with the midwife seeing more than a dozen cases daily, in addition to attending births. The day of a local midwife is long and exhausting. She will provide pre- and post-natal check-ups and non-emergency care such as dressing wounds or cuts.

Sometimes she is paid for her services in CFA (the local currency in Senegal). Other times she may be paid in chickens, eggs, or bags of millet. Caring for young and old alike, a local midwife is a pillar in her community.

It is amazing how much is able to be done with so little. And how gracious, welcoming, giving, and appreciative the people of Senegal are.
— Andando Medical Volunteer

Andando provides ongoing support to these dedicated women by helping them educate their communities in health and sanitation through volunteer-led workshops.

Women fill the courtyard near a health post, excited to learn how they can better improve the health of their families and communities.

Women fill the courtyard near a health post, excited to learn how they can better improve the health of their families and communities.

In the courtyard near a health post (pictured above) plastic chairs and wooden benches are filled with local women, most of them mothers or expectant mothers, excited to learn how they can better improve the health of their families. The speaker is an Oregon-based midwife and Andando supporter who is well received. Not solely due to her medical training, but because she shares a common bond – she too is a mother.

“It is amazing how much is able to be done with so little. And how gracious, welcoming, giving, and appreciative the people of Senegal are.”

“It is amazing how much is able to be done with so little. And how gracious, welcoming, giving, and appreciative the people of Senegal are.”

After an hour of engaged conversation the women leave with a better understanding of sanitation, basic anatomy, and how the very vegetables they grow can impact the health of their families in very real ways.

This ongoing involvement in the community and support for local midwives ensures the success of local health posts, providing essential healthcare for years to come.

From the Director - March 2019

Late last year, we announced the expansion of our programs into a new region of Senegal – Podor, in the very far north along the Senegal River. (Click here to read that story.) Laying a relational foundation for several years prior, we launched the introduction of two market gardens, two partner schools, and one community health post last October.

Meeting with the women of Mbantou Croisssement garden.

Meeting with the women of Mbantou Croisssement garden.

I recently had the chance to visit the area and check in on these new programs and staff, and it is going great! In just a few short months of the water being turned on in the gardens, the women have already harvested over 4,000 pounds (!!!) of organic produce, feeding their families and earning vital income.

Celebrating the recent harvests at Mbantou Croissement garden.

Celebrating the recent harvests at Mbantou Croissement garden.

Discussing the boosted enrollment figures with the administration of Donay Taredji II school.

Discussing the boosted enrollment figures with the administration of Donay Taredji II school.

In the partner schools, over 200 new students are enrolled because of the new classrooms we built, with more to follow.

The health post is just now coming online, but will serve the isolated community of Dado that had virtually no access to healthcare.

The health post in Dado nearing completion.

The health post in Dado nearing completion.

We are really excited for these new developments, and the proof of what can be accomplished is such a short time with relatively minimal investment. This year, we plan to replicate these efforts in new communities and build on this success. Thank you for your support in our growing programs!

“Jéréjëf!” – Thank You!

Lewis Kiker, Executive Director
lewis@andando.org

Bottle Drop: Cans for Change

We have BottleDrop bags, do you have yours?

BottleDrop is a clean convenient way to return your bottles and cans and claim the deposit. There are two ways you can help Andando through BottleDrop:

  1. Fill blue fundraising bags with cans and bottles. Drop off at your local BottleDrop location. Andando will receive the funds from your bags.

  2. Already have a BottleDrop account? You can transfer funds directly from your account to Andando online.

Email us at crystal@andando.org to request your BottleDrop bags, or stop by our office located at 120 SW 4th St. Suite 170, Corvallis, OR.

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Construction Underway at Fas Toucouleur Primary School!

Last fall we reached out to you and asked for your help to build a school.

Thanks to  the support of our community, and with a matching grant from One Days Wages, we met our goal and construction is actively underway at Fas Toucouleur Primary School.

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Improvements at the school include the addition of three classrooms, a block of latrines and classroom libraries. We recently met with all of the stakeholders in the program, and spoke with some students.

Existing classroom (pictured on left) with temporary thatch classroom attached (pictured right). New construction will replace the thatch classrooms.

Existing classroom (pictured on left) with temporary thatch classroom attached (pictured right). New construction will replace the thatch classrooms.

Everyone involved is very eager to utilize the new upgrades at the school.

The community has continually emphasized what this project will mean for them. "It will boost enrollment, increase attendance, bolster test scores, and set this community on the path towards a brighter future."

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On the latest visit, we finalized the terms of who was responsible for which aspects of the project and established a timeline for the work.

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We surveyed the ground to determine the best location for the rooms, keeping in mind elements such as wind, hot afternoon sun, as well as proximity to water and latrines.

Local community leaders blessed the project and renewed their commitment to do all they can to make the process as smooth as possible. Construction is already underway!

Materials have been delivered and local workers are making bricks that will be used for the foundation and walls of the new buildings.

Workers excavating the ground and laying the foundation and the exterior walls.

After the foundation has been laid, the walls start to go up!

After the foundation has been laid, the walls start to go up!

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The students are excited to have new, permanent classrooms such as the one pictured here. Our existing similar programs have resulted in higher test scores, as well as an increase in student enrollment.

Your investment in this project, and others like it, provide a brighter future for young students which will be felt throughout the community for generations.

Check back for more updates as construction continues.

Matching Grant Will Build School For Young Learners

Happy students receiving new school supplies at one of our partner schools.

Happy students receiving new school supplies at one of our partner schools.

With your support we have met our goal and will build three classrooms for the students at Fas Toucouleur Primary School. 100% of gifts made towards this project were matched by One Days Wages!

Check back often for construction updates, photos and more.

This is an example of what the temporary classrooms look like, half of this one had recently collapsed.

This is an example of what the temporary classrooms look like, half of this one had recently collapsed.

Construction at a previous primary school

Construction at a previous primary school

Enjoying a meal in our nutrition program.

Enjoying a meal in our nutrition program.

Why a rural Senegalese school?

Currently, the school only has three classrooms for the six grades that meet there. This necessitates the use of three decrepit and dangerous temporary classrooms, or significant chunks of class time missing as the classrooms are used by other grades. Many parents in the community do not feel it is worth it to send their children to a school in this condition, resulting in extremely lagging enrollment rates, where particularly disadvantaged students are forced to work in agriculture or elsewhere instead of attending school. Other students may be sent out of the community to attend a different school at great cost to the families.

As part of this project, we will also construct a proper block of latrines to be used by the students. The current lack of these facilities forces students into unsanitary conditions in adjacent fields. In addition to these efforts, we will establish a small classroom library in each room, install a sufficient number of desks to seat each child, and create a suitable playing field for students.

As we have seen from similar programs in the past, we anticipate increases in attendance, enrollment, test scores, community involvement, along with other immeasurable advancements such as an increase in everyone taking pride in the school and a stronger hope for the future.

There are currently about 125 students enrolled at the school, but we anticipate this number to nearly double as a viable educational environment will draw those who are leaving the community to study elsewhere, combined with those who are currently unschooled. Further, this greatly enhanced academic atmosphere with accompanying education-boosting materials will translate into more students receiving additional schooling beyond the primary level. This means more families with more students with more opportunities.

Join us in empowering these young students and providing them with a safe space to learn and grow.

Happy Holidays from Andando!

As we celebrate another year and look forward to an exciting new one, I just wanted to take a moment and say THANK YOU for your support and partnership.

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Through your investment in Senegal, we are affirming dignity, building hope, and empowering others on the path toward real, sustainable change.

Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!

"Jaama rek" - Peace to you,
Lewis Kiker, Executive Director

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From the Director - December 2018

Andando staff hanging out with the women at Kouthieye Garden.

Andando staff hanging out with the women at Kouthieye Garden.

You have made a huge difference this year, transforming communities half a world away. 2018 has been a big year for Andando and our partners with the introduction of new programs and the expansion of existing ones, our reach is now impacting more people than ever.

This year we launched programs in a new region for us, Podor, in the north of Senegal. We are excited for this opportunity to extend our proven model to a new area, with the potential to reach thousands of people over the next few years.

Officially introducing Sall as Garden Manager to the women and community representatives of Mbantou Croissement.

Officially introducing Sall as Garden Manager to the women and community representatives of Mbantou Croissement.

We also continued our programs in Keur Soce, and expanded our reach there, which now improves the lives of more than 25,000 people. By walking together with those we partner with, we strive to affirm dignity, build hope, and empower others on the path toward real, sustainable change.

Meeting with the representatives at Ngaole Primary School.

Meeting with the representatives at Ngaole Primary School.

None of this would be possible without the generosity of your investment. To do even more, we still need your help! Please consider making a donation to Andando today and have the effects felt halfway across the globe. Your contribution makes these programs possible, and the Senegalese send along a BIG “Jéréjëf!” – Thank You!

Sincerely,

Lewis Kiker, Executive Director
lewis@andando.org

How Does Gardening Impact Your Life? (Video)

We had the opportunity to check in with several of our Community Garden participants to see how the projects are going. Participants put into their own words the many ways the gardens positively impact their lives in some tangible and, even surprising, ways.

Sophie works in one of the gardens and wanted to say, “We thank you without limits because we are really satisfied with this project.”

Sophie works in one of the gardens and wanted to say, “We thank you without limits because we are really satisfied with this project.”

We knew that those working the gardens benefited both financially and nutritionally from the bounty of the gardens. But what we didn’t know is that the quality of the produce surpassed that previously purchased, and the women noted this when talking about their home-cooked meals being very good!

Participants also shared with us that prior to working in the gardens they had to borrow money when medical or other needs arose. But now they have seen a shift where not only do they have financial security, they can also lend money to their neighbors in need. Whole communities benefit, not just those working in the gardens.

We thank you without limits because we are really satisfied with this project.

Self-reliance and determination also increased. “We are all determined, courageous and supportive of each other in taking this destiny into our own hands” says Khady, a garden participant.

Want to hear more from these women in their own words? Check out our brand new video.

Thank You the Dinner and Silent Auction was a Great Success!

Randal Goodman receiving an award on behalf of Hub City Church.

Randal Goodman receiving an award on behalf of Hub City Church.

Thank you to those who participated in the Dinner and Silent Auction fundraiser. Your generous donations helped make it our most successful fundraiser to date! We raised more than $48,000 to support communities in Senegal.

Also honored at the event was Hub City Church for their significant contribution to the health and well-being of the people of Senegal.

We are already looking forward to next year; save the date for Thursday, October 24, 2019!

Click here for more.

From the Director - October 2018

Hello everyone and greetings from Senegal! Nanga def?! (How are you?!)

At the time of writing this I had been in Senegal for a couple weeks checking in our programs, working to develop our staff here, and exploring opportunities with new partner communities and organizations. It has been a belated, but decent rainy season here and the millet and peanut fields are coming in well. Our programs in Keur Soce are thriving this year and we are adding more every month. Our staff has taken these new challenges in stride and are making new things possible. This year has been one of growth for us, and we are hopeful that we can continue to expand in the future.

Crossing the Doue River to see a new health post at Dado. Recent rains have washed out the roads.

Crossing the Doue River to see a new health post at Dado. Recent rains have washed out the roads.

One area of recent expansion that we are very excited to announce is the launch of Andando programs in a new part of Senegal! In July, we broke ground on many new projects in the Podor region of northern Senegal (see map below). Working with a partner - the Vibrant Village Foundation - and backed by your support and generosity, we are embracing this new chapter as we seek to strengthen more communities.

Podor, located about 300 miles north of Keur Soce, is home to a new phase of Andando Programs.  Copyright Free Vector Maps.com

Podor, located about 300 miles north of Keur Soce, is home to a new phase of Andando Programs. Copyright Free Vector Maps.com

As with our programs in Keur Soce, we have spent years laying the foundation in this area by first developing relationships and "testing the waters" by operating our microloan program in the area, with fantastic results. This process, which has been about five years in the making, allows us to develop partners in the area, ensure support and community backing, and guarantee success and sustainability as best we can.

Construction of a garden basin at Mbantou Croissement.

Construction of a garden basin at Mbantou Croissement.

This new venture marks a significant step for us and we hope you will join us in welcoming these new communities into the Andando family. We are by no means leaving our programs behind in Keur Soce, and have really only scratched the surface of the potential of the communities there. We have made lifelong friends in Keur Soce and will continue to walk with them to meet myriad needs and continue to invest in their potential. Keur Soce will remain the center of the bulk of our operations, but we are excited for this new growth enabled through your continued support!

Thank you, and I hope to see you all very soon at the dinner and silent auction on October 25th!

-Lewis Kiker, Executive Director

New Health Posts Ready to Open!

Midwives who will staff and run the health post in Batara Wolof.

Midwives who will staff and run the health post in Batara Wolof.

Later this month our construction team in Keur Soce will be putting the finishing touches on two new health posts that will serve the communities of Batara Wolof and Keur Ngor. This will bring the total to eight health posts built by Andando and our partners in the past few years. In all, this program has dramatically increased healthcare access to over 25,000 people.

In just the past year and a half, we have seen over 800 births, 7,000 weight/malnutrition checks and education, and 8,000 vaccinations given.
Finishing the exterior of the Batara Wolof health post.

Finishing the exterior of the Batara Wolof health post.

Previously, people in these communities would often have to travel long distances, by foot or donkey cart, to seek care for even routine medical needs. Even worse, many women would have to make this trek while in labor to safely give birth at a medical facility. This led to alarming rate of births taking place in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, and common medical needs turning into emergency cases. These simple, but effective, facilities are staffed by trained nurses and midwives in order to deliver care where people need it most.

Outside the health post in Keur Ngor with the village Chief (left), Boubou, Andando Country Director (center) and Camara, Keur Soce Program Manager (right).

Outside the health post in Keur Ngor with the village Chief (left), Boubou, Andando Country Director (center) and Camara, Keur Soce Program Manager (right).

At each health post, there is an office and consultation room; a labor and delivery room with electricity and running water; and a recovery/monitoring room for new moms and their babies, each with their own bathrooms. Andando also provides each post with a basic stock of medical equipment and supplies to get started, which the state then replenishes moving forward.

Installing plumbing and sinks at Keur Ngor health post.

Installing plumbing and sinks at Keur Ngor health post.

These facilities have led to a dramatic increase in safe births, the hosting of vaccination clinics, child-wellness visits, and family planning consultations. Medical staff are also able to give routine first-aid when needed, as well as referrals to other larger or regional health centers.

Interior of the Batara Wolof health post as of September 13, 2018.

Interior of the Batara Wolof health post as of September 13, 2018.

In just the past year and a half, we have seen over 800 births, 7,000 weight/malnutrition checks and education, and 8,000 vaccinations given. For a relatively small investment we can deliver amazing results to the people of the Keur Soce area and keep them on a productive path moving forward. This vital program has an immediate impact on these populations and we are proud to see its growth in helping more and more people achieve a healthy life.

More Than Just Vegetables - Cultivating Peace and Solidarity

This is Khady Thiam who has been working in the Ngor Marone Market Garden for the last few years, and selling the produce she doesn’t eat at home, for profit on a street-side stall:

"Before the installation of the garden, I encountered enormous difficulties to satisfy my needs. Since Andando has come to this area, this story has changed."  
  
   
   
  
    
  
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"Before the installation of the garden, I encountered enormous difficulties to satisfy my needs. Since Andando has come to this area, this story has changed."

"I have learned so much since my time with Andando began, I learned a lot about market gardening techniques, determination, teamwork, and the spirit of cultivating peace and solidarity in a given group. I also learned the spirit of helping one another and sharing. It is great that we depend on each other, and we distribute what we can spare to our parents who come to visit us. We are now able to grow, harvest, and give them some extra so they don’t have to buy it in the market, or travel to Kaolack to get it. Andando has allowed us to live well, as we use the vegetables after harvest and we cook without spending the last penny.

Thanks to Andando, I work in the garden, I earn my income honestly and with dignity, I respond to my material and financial needs, and I solve my problems without reaching out to anyone. Then, thanks to Andando, I do not buy any more vegetables for my meals as I always use vegetables from the garden for family meals. I am able to respond to the aspirations and schooling of my children, and I can make my contribution on treating the illnesses of my children. Last year, after sharing the profits with the other women, I had over $200 to enjoy the Tabaski celebration! I was able to use it to sew new clothes for my little ones and I bought supplies for the festival, as do so many other families. I was even able to help my son who was an intern at the Kaolack Regional Hospital.

I respond to my material and financial needs… . I am able to respond to the aspirations and schooling of my children.

The community of Keur Soce has advanced through the contributions of Andando through the gardens, and since then we feel the economic and social benefits for everyone. Anyone in the community can come to get vegetables at our gardens, in the morning as well as in the evening. Then, the community does not need to travel as much to buy vegetables in Kaolack, they are cheaper, and everyone saves time and money on transport.

Thanks to the Andando project, I earn a decent living. I no longer ask for help from people to solve my problems. Contrarily, it is the people who come to ask me to lend them money to meet their needs. Before the installation of the garden, I encountered enormous difficulties to satisfy my needs. Since Andando has come to this area, this story has changed.

At work in the Ngor Marone Market Garden

At work in the Ngor Marone Market Garden

The project has allowed me to be more organized, and to have the sense of priority and solidarity in the group. I get up early in the morning to go to the garden to take care of watering and crop maintenance, then I go back home to take care of the housework. On the days that I need to leave very early for Kaolack in search of something I need, my partner at the garden – Mrs. Diop – is able to water, hoe and maintain if necessary. So on my return, I join the garden in the afternoon to do the same as my friend. With Andando, we have the sense of organization, we are very organized and we collaborate well between friends.

For the future of the project, I am really optimistic. We know that for the project to be viable, it would be necessary that the women of the gardens never give up, they should continue their dynamism and their determination.

I want say a big thank you to all of our supporters! There are all those who work for our benefit overseas, but also the dedicated Mr. Sy, who works for the good of the community of Keur Soce, Then, without forgetting Mandaw Ba, the coordinator of the garden technicians, Mr. Camara, and all that work for Andando from near or far."

Summer Loan Distribution- Just In Time For Planting

Recipients of this year's microloan distribution, many of which are farmers, will be able to expand their plantings and harvest - just in time for the rainy season!

Recipients of this year's microloan distribution, many of which are farmers, will be able to expand their plantings and harvest - just in time for the rainy season!

We recently had a loan distribution event where dozens of local farmers received a loan to assist with the planting of their fields as the rainy season progresses. We have been doing this program for over 10 years and have experienced life-changing results for many involved. With over a thousand loans going out over the years, we have had about a 98% pay back rate!

Ibrahima, a second-time loan participant, took his $100 loan and turned it into $1,000!

Ibrahima, a second-time loan participant, took his $100 loan and turned it into $1,000!

This is Ibrahima Gueye, a farmer who lives in the village of Keur Diene, near Keur Soce. He is a father of eight, four boys and four girls. We recently sat down with him to ask him about his participation in our microloan program. Many of these farmers cannot afford the inputs to plant their fields, or end up going to exploitative lenders who then eat up all the profits they might have gained. With Andando’s no-interest loans, people are able to keep what they earn and begin to emerge from this cycle of poverty.

Andando has been instrumental in this area, not only through this financing plan, but also in the areas of health, education, and agriculture.

This past year I received a loan of $100.  With these funds increased my farmable land to 1.5 hectares [approx. 3.7 acres] by having it plowed.  This cost about $40. From there, I used $15 to buy watermelon seeds, and the rest of the money went toward other inputs to build up the other maize fields I had planted. That is how I spent the money, then I worked the fields and waited.

Andando staff, Camara (pictured left), recording the loan distribution amounts and repayments.  

Andando staff, Camara (pictured left), recording the loan distribution amounts and repayments.  

It was incredible, because after the season, I earned over $800 by selling the watermelons and sold 10 bags of maize for $200. This means that I had an overall income of $1,000 during the overwintering period, and it is directly thanks to the loan that brought me all this output and great returns. In addition, I also kept nine bags of maize for my family's sustenance during the dry period. So, the loan has brought me a lot of economic change, but also sociological, by contributing to my dignity, my being and the improvement of my income.

The loan has brought me a lot of economic change, but also sociological, by contributing to my dignity, my being and the improvement of my income.

This project has been very beneficial for us and our community. It is helping us to be more sustainable in our lives. We must in turn make this program sustainable by always respecting the time of payment of our loans, think about our material and financial empowerment, and then Andando could develop new programs to allow others to benefit from the loan.

Andando staff Camara (left) and Mandaw (right) along with the mayor of Keur Soce distributing funds to this year's loan recipients.

Andando staff Camara (left) and Mandaw (right) along with the mayor of Keur Soce distributing funds to this year's loan recipients.

I want to thank Andando very much, because this is the second time I have received a loan. I thank the whole Andando team and staff for working for the success of the project and the commune of Keur Soce."

From all of us at Andando, thank you for supporting these life-changing programs.  

Korité - A Celebration of the End of Ramadan

For many, today marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.  (For more on Ramadan, click here.)  Islam is the largest religion in Senegal and many of our staff and partners have been observing Ramadan for the past 30 days.

Korité, is the celebration of the end of Ramadan.  An important holiday in Senegal – Korité  can last for several days!  As with any celebration in Senegal there will be vibrant colors, delicious food and much music and dancing.

Celebrating the harvest with impromptu dancing.  You can see buckets being used as drums.

Celebrating the harvest with impromptu dancing.  You can see buckets being used as drums.

Often times, families will travel back to their villages to spend this holiday with their extended family.  Most will have new clothes made special for the occasion.  Gifts are often given and extra special meals will be prepared.  So for many, Korité can be a costly venture.

Produce tables, like this one, are common along roads and other high traffic areas.

Produce tables, like this one, are common along roads and other high traffic areas.

Participants in the garden projects benefit not only from the cost-savings of growing their own food, but they can also bring in additional income by selling their excess produce during Korité.

We wish all our friends safe travels this Korité!

Student Field Trip!

Students from three partner schools in Keur Soce enjoying the Dakar Zoo on the annual Student Field Trip.

Students from three partner schools in Keur Soce enjoying the Dakar Zoo on the annual Student Field Trip.

One exciting activity we sponsor is an annual field trip for students at our partner schools. Students jump on a couple buses to spend two days in Dakar visiting various sites of interest like Goree Island, the Dakar zoo, National Parliament, and the African Renaissance Statue.

For many, this may be their first time seeing the ocean, the animals in the zoo, and perhaps even their first time out of the community. This low-cost program can really open the eyes of many of these students, and is a fun activity to look forward to and motivating factor for those graduating out of primary school.

Tour guide at Goree Island sharing the history and significance of the site.

Tour guide at Goree Island sharing the history and significance of the site.

This year's trip is coming up in just a few months, when more than 100 new students will get to experience many of these things for the first time!

This is only possible because of your support - thank you for broadening horizons for these students. 

We Have Become Dynamic & Entrepreneurial Women

Khoredia Mbodji has been the president of the Keur Niene Serere Market Garden, since its inception three years ago. She is a strong and determined woman who is a leader in her community and she is proud of what they have accomplished. Keur Niene Serere also recently received a brand new Community Health Post where mothers can safely deliver and others can seek basic care. We sat down with Mbodji to ask her about her experience working with Andando.

Mbodji watering her onions.

Mbodji watering her onions.

“I have learned so much since Andando has joined us in Keur Niene Serere. Andando has brought us a garden and a health post for our population and the surrounding villages. Through these investments, we were taught the new techniques of market gardening and all organic methods. Before, we mostly grew only one thing during one season, but now we have mastered other techniques for many types of gardening and techniques to develop nurseries, as well as the reforestation of trees.

“Since the arrival from Andando to the Keur Soce area, we have improved our socio-economic living conditions. We manage to grow vegetables, sell some of them to earn money to take care of some of the daily problems of the family, and contribute to the schooling of my children. Andando allowed us to have access to organic vegetables that are prepared in our different meals. Previously, we bought these vegetables at a premium in Kaolack. Now, we have these vegetables, we also sell them at the weekly markets and we sometimes give some to our family members who come to visit us.

Cabbages growing at Keur Niene Serere Market Garden fed by water drawn from the solar-powered pump.

Cabbages growing at Keur Niene Serere Market Garden fed by water drawn from the solar-powered pump.

“The project has changed many things in our day-to-day life: access to vegetables, getting used to working or undertaking agricultural activities, and helping to improve our health. We have become dynamic and entrepreneurial women. Before the arrival of Andando, we spent all our time under the trees just discussion things that led us to nothing. However, since the arrival of Andando, the activity of the garden has become our main concern.

“Not only is this important for our community, but the project extends its effects to the broader population with the gardening and the health component. The community has access to vegetables that they did not previously, and we are able to seek care and treatment in our own village. Even more so, the surrounding villages come to stock up on vegetables and seek healthcare in Keur Niene without having to make the laborious and expensive trip to Kaolack and back. Everyone feels the positive impacts of these programs.

Members of the Keur Niene Serere Market Garden attend a workshop in the garden.

Members of the Keur Niene Serere Market Garden attend a workshop in the garden.

“These things have contributed much to my dignity and well-being. First, it allowed me to have knowledge in market gardening, then it allowed me to be autonomous socially and financially. Before the arrival of Andando, there was not much for me to do. I struggled to manage my problems on a daily basis, and I had to ask for social assistance from my neighbors in the village. Generally, it was disheartening. Now thanks to Andando, I became a fighter, because I work in the garden and I manage to meet my needs and those of my family and my children. With Andando, poverty here is being reduced. I do not hold out my hand and even if I borrow money, I intend to repay in the time because with the garden I am a woman in activity and employment.

“In the future, we hope to do even more, like try to have toilets in every house in our community, setting up a poultry project for the women, and strengthening the capabilities of the Health Post.

“With the efforts of all those involved, we have the tools to succeed. I give my thanks from near and far to everyone in Andando contributing to the completion of the work.”

From the Director

My family and I recently returned from a three month stay in Senegal. We had a blast being there together and spending time both in the city and the country, enjoying good food, interesting culture, and making new friends. It was a great opportunity to have our young son experience another culture and see more of the wide world out there, and we all escaped much the dreary Oregon winter!

One of our favorite experiences is enjoying a meal with friends and co-workers.  Here our son is learning how to eat rice and fish Senegalese-style.

One of our favorite experiences is enjoying a meal with friends and co-workers.  Here our son is learning how to eat rice and fish Senegalese-style.

Usually, my time is brief and busy managing programs and meeting with partners, so this extended stay offered the chance to spend more time with our team and immersing myself more in the culture and language. Most importantly, it allowed us to get a big jumpstart on all the programming we have planned for this year. We are doing three more gardens this year, working with more partner schools, and building two new health posts, alongside running our existing programs.

We are really excited for what is coming this year, and because of your partnership, we are continuing to make strides in walking together with the people of rural Senegal. Your contribution makes these programs possible.

 

-From all of us at Andando, “jere jef!” - Thank you!

"We Are More Engaged and Ready to Take Action!"

In honor of International Women's Day, and the nearly 1500 women participating in our market garden program in Senegal, we bring you the story of Combe Ndiaye. Ndiaye is president of one of the women's groups in Kouthieye Market Garden, who have been participating in our program since last July.

Andando Staff with some member of the Kouthieye Women's Cooperative in their new garden.

Andando Staff with some member of the Kouthieye Women's Cooperative in their new garden.

Last year, the Kouthieye Women's Cooperative partnered with Andando in bringing the necessary infrastructure to make their small garden start thriving in the midst of difficult conditions in rural Senegal. In just a short time (barely six months!), they have turned their garden into a flourishing ecosystem that provides produce for the women and their families to consume, and plenty more for them to sell and earn an income. We sat down with Ndiaye and asked about her experience:

Some of the initial harvests!

Some of the initial harvests!

"Andando has brought great change to our community. All of us women see an improvement not only in our ability to farm and produce many vegetables through this new system, but we also see big improvements in our organizational and social lives. It has galvanized us women to be more engaged with each other and also take more action in the life of the community. We are more direct participants and can create new ideas and change where we are.

"In regards to the produce, all the women of the gardens are able to take home all the vegetables they need to finally prepare good and nutritious meals. Before, we had to buy these vegetables elsewhere, taking time and money to travel to purchase them. They were also very expensive and without any quality like the fortified organic model that we do with Andando. Now we grow everything we need ourselves and do not have to depend on anyone.

The pump system infrastructure, just after the water was turned on, with the seedlings just starting to come up. 

The pump system infrastructure, just after the water was turned on, with the seedlings just starting to come up. 

"Beyond consumption, we also sell another part of the harvest to make money to support our children and the family in general. With Andando, we are able to save money, help our husbands, and promote our health through the use of organic produce.

"As we are just beginning and are still learning, we sometimes encounter difficulties when markets are saturated. Through the help of Andando, we are learning to organize ourselves to sell our produce in the market of Kouthieye following a rotation among the many different groups. We are also pooling together to send representatives to sell the vegetables in weekly markets elsewhere like Ndoffane, Keur Maniable, and among others in Keur Soce.

Checking out the progress with Garden Technician Mbaye Badiane

Checking out the progress with Garden Technician Mbaye Badiane

"With this new income, I am improving my living conditions. In the short term, I am trying to buy a wardrobe and a bed for my house. Longer term, it is helping me to take charge of my family and provide a more decent life for us all."