From the Director - June 2019

We have experienced much growth over the last several years, which is a reflection of your continued support. This has meant an increase in our programs, our participants, and most importantly, our impact. We are now reaching far more people than we ever have. One thing that makes all of this possible is the excellent staff that we have on the ground in Senegal running these programs on a daily basis.

Some of our excellent staff that we have on the ground in Senegal.

Some of our excellent staff that we have on the ground in Senegal.

From building schools and health posts, to running the 19 community gardens, there is plenty of fieldwork to manage each of these programs and make them successful. In order to do this, we turn to those who are best able to help themselves – the Senegalese. We now have 18 full-time staff, along with dozens of contractors and interns, who diligently put in the work – day in and day out – to build a better future for themselves and their country. We are very proud of our staff and the commitment they have shown to strengthen our past successes, as well as sustainably build new ones. Click here to read a little more about one of these dedicated staff members, our Podor Area Project Manager Bocar Diack.

Andando Staff Lewis Kiker and Crystal Kelley (center) with spouses at Celebrate Corvallis

Andando Staff Lewis Kiker and Crystal Kelley (center) with spouses at Celebrate Corvallis

Later this month, Andando’s Development Director – Crystal Kelley – is traveling to Senegal to spend time with our staff in training and development. While there, she will take time with each one of them to get to know their stories, which we will bring you over the next several months. We hope you enjoy reading and getting to know them as much as we have over the past few years.


“Jéréjëf!” – Thank You!

Lewis Kiker, Executive Director

Construction Update: Fas Toucouleur Primary School

Several months in and the construction at Fas Toucouleur Primary School is nearing completion! Because of your support (and a matching grant from One Days Wages) three new classrooms are being built. This will double the capacity of the school. Students will no longer be studying in temporary thatch buildings. Latrines are also under construction, which will improve sanitation conditions and decrease absences due to illness.

We are excited to share with you the progress of the construction so far. Click here to see previous posts about this project.

Pre-Construction - Students inside one of the existing classrooms (left). Exterior of one of the existing classrooms with the temporary thatch classroom attached (right).

February 2019

We met with the community leaders and school administrators to finalize the terms of who was responsible for which aspects of the project and established a timeline for the work.

We then 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.

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Once the location for the classrooms was established, excavation and construction could begin. In the photo above, the green lines indicate where the new block of classrooms will be constructed. You can see an abandoned hut in the middle of the proposed site. This will be removed.

The abandoned hut, which will be removed to make way for new classrooms (left).

Materials were delivered on-site in mid-February. Local contractors along with residents set to making the bricks needed for construction.

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March 2019 - The footing and walls start to take shape and the roof to the hut has been removed.

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May 2019 - Workers seal the concrete walls.

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The new block of classrooms (left) and new latrine (right) will be ready for classes this fall.

Amath Diop School Director

Amath Diop School Director

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."

As the classrooms are nearing completion, they will be ready to be filled with eager students when classes resume this fall. Thank you for making this possible

Guest Post: Oasis in the Desert

Our partner, Vibrant Village Foundation (VVF), recently published an article about our work in Podor, the northern region of Senegal. We want to share it with you. The following is republished with permission.


Oasis in the Desert: A Conversation with Andando Foundation's Bocar Diack

 

Andando Foundation has been a VVF partner since 2014, working in rural Senegal to alleviate poverty by taking a multi-sectoral approach and “focusing on the growth of the whole village.” And though most of Andando’s programming is in Keur Soce in southwest Senegal, in 2017 VVF’s support enabled them to embark on a new project in the Northern Region.

The needs are high in the north—it’s one of the poorest areas in Senegal, few NGOs work there, and it’s extremely dry and affected by climate change. Though Andando has done some sporadic work there for several years (their Country Director has family ties in the north and they’ve given microloans and dug wells over the years), our funding has enabled them to launch a new, holistic program.

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In November 2017, Marieme Daff, our Senior Program Officer who’s from Senegal herself, traveled to Senegal to conduct an initial assessment of the program area, alongside Andando. She participated in interviews to select a candidate for the Podor Program Manager position and met Bocar Diack, who was eventually hired by Andando.

What stood out to Marieme about Bocar, she says while smiling, were “things that normally [she] might not consider strengths. He’s young and doesn’t have tons of experience. But he’s so excited, committed, and wants to make a change in that region. He’s a hard worker and has a good vision.”

 Bocar is from the Podor region and had been eager to move back to his home. Marieme describes “it was like a start-up. Andando basically sent him there with a cellphone, motorbike, and laptop.” Bocar’s first months were spent canvassing villages by motorbike to understand the needs and select communities, and as of late 2018, Andando’s programs started to be implemented. Andando’s Executive Director, Lewis Kiker, says Bocar has “done very well in covering a great deal of ground quickly to get this program up and running.”

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 Lewis and Marieme visited Podor in early March of 2019, and both were excited by what they saw. Lewis wrote a short story on Andando’s website sharing his takeaways (read that here), and Marieme she was amazed at what’s been accomplished in such a short time.

 Bocar hasn’t done it all alone—Andando’s two other Podor staff members, Souleymane Sall (Garden Manager), and Hamedine Thiam (Accountant & Administrator) have been instrumental in getting programs underway. In just a few short months the team has renovated a health post, established 2 women-run community gardens, and renovated 2 schools. The gardens, which are true oases in the desert, have “really taken off,” Lewis says.

 These community gardens are solely run by women, and Marieme says she “loved meeting women participants and found their determination inspiring. For these women, their participation in the program leads to greater respect, dignity and status in their communities.”

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We’ve all been inspired by Andando’s team’s work in Podor. A few weeks back, Marieme talked with Bocar about his background and inspiration for taking on his new role. Here’s what he said:

What was exciting to you about this job? Why did you want to apply?

I was excited about this job because of the location. I was born and raised in the Podor region (Ngaolé village), so I was excited to apply for a job that would allow me to go back to my native region. I was also motivated and wanted to contribute to the development of my region. I’m thrilled that I’m in a position to help my community to manage gardens and help kids to go to school.

Did you always know you wanted to do this type of work? What draws you to it?

 I studied project management in university and I’ve always been passionate about community-based development. I am the co-founder of two community groups in my native village: The Student Association of Ngaolé, which supports elementary school students with tutoring and summer classes. I was also active in our village association dedicated to the development of my village. Having a job that allows me to go back and implement what I’ve always wanted to do is a dream.

What was it like growing up in the Podor region?

 I was raised by my paternal grandmother and uncle in a poor fisherman family (my parents divorced when I was very young, and as a boy, I belonged to my father’s family). I’m grateful for my family’s support and being able to go to school. My uncle paid for school supplies and other basic needs.

Growing up, I saw the impact of poverty on people’s lives. I saw my aunt die because she couldn’t afford to get medical treatment. I will never forget that. I’ve always wanted to do something to help the people in my village.

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What's been the reaction from your family, friends, and those in the community to you stepping into this role?

Everyone was so thrilled. Many people expected that I was going to do something like that someday: come back to my village and do something for the community. As I said, I was active as a young teenager and formed a youth association. I was also always first of my class in school, so people had hopes for me. Everybody prayed for me and hoped for the best. I feel very supported in my work by the community.

What's been the most rewarding part so far? The most challenging part?

 The most rewarding part of my job has been to see kids go to school and learn in decent conditions. Through our renovation work, we’ve moved kids from basic temporary classrooms (made out of branches and leaves) to proper classrooms with a roof and windows (see before and after images below).

 The challenging part is that there are so many needs and we can’t help everyone. Dealing with expectations has been difficult.

 What's your ultimate dream for this project? In 15 years what do you hope to see?

 My dream is to see the project grow and expand to other regions in the north. I’d like to see gardens, schools and health posts everywhere there is a need. I also want to see strong, dignified and independent women. I’d like us to be known regionally and nationally, why not?!

 Many thanks to Bocar and all of Andando’s staff for their ongoing dedication to this work. For more information on Andando Foundation or to donate, visit their website.

 -Dana deLaski

 Dana is the Communications Associate for Vibrant Village Foundation.


Thank You From a Father, Husband, and Peanut Farmer

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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.

Dining for a Cause - Thank You!

Board Member Stephanie (left) with guests at Panera Bread Fundraiser Night for Andando.

Board Member Stephanie (left) with guests at Panera Bread Fundraiser Night for Andando.

An extra thank you to the staff that served up a special entrée at Calapooia Brewing to make the night exceptionally flavorful.

An extra thank you to the staff that served up a special entrée at Calapooia Brewing to make the night exceptionally flavorful.

The team at Panera Bread Salem who made us feel welcome.

The team at Panera Bread Salem who made us feel welcome.

Thank you to everyone who joined us (and brought your friends) to Calapooia Brewing Co., Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Panera Bread’s fundraiser nights last month.

It was great to see friends, new and old, out showing support for sustainable change in Senegal.


An extra thank you to: the staff that served up a special entrée at Calapooia Brewing to make the night exceptionally flavorful, the team at Panera Bread that made us feel welcome, and Chipotle Mexican Grill for hosting benefits on our behalf.

We are always looking for new partners. if you have ideas, send them to crystal@andando.org.

Click here to check out other upcoming events.

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!