a village in Senegal

Life in a rural village in Senegal is challenging. There never seems to be enough food, enough water, even enough time, especially for women. Women have millet to grind, water to fetch, babies to nurse, and always many mouths to feed. The majority of the men are small farmers and that is always a risky business in an area where the rains come intermittently and sometimes not all. As a result of all these conditions, many of the men of the village are forced to go to larger towns looking for work, usually with little success. Some of these men will end up with new wives and children to support in the town, making a bad problem worse.

Since it's beginning , Andando has been looking at ways to improve life in the local village, ways to give people a hope and a future right where they are. That is why we have focussed on micro lending and farmer loans as ways to encourage people to stay in their villages and build stronger famiies in the process.

Keur Soce is a village where Andando has been working for about three years. We began work there with a church partner, Doxology. On our first visit we met with the local chief and had some great discussions about the needs of the village which resulted in some aid to the school. the drilling of two wells, installation of two neighborhood taps and help with starting a huge market garden. As the relationship has grown, Andando has targeted Keur Soce for the newest round of micro loans and in March we distributed 45 loans in Keur Soce. These loans average about $100 and are for projects such as a small shop, a hairdresser even a small restaurant.

Dibe Diouf is one of the loan recipients. In order to supplement their meager income from farming, Dibe used to go out in to the bush to find wild fruit which she would then take to sell in the nearest town. This was sometimes difficult and dangerous. She did not know when she might encounter wild animals and snakes. With her micro loan, Dibe has opened a small shop where she sells sugar,rice and oil, things that people used to have to travel further to buy. Dibe's family will all benefit from this new venture.

Andando is currently raising funds to help the farmers of Keur Soce get 'seed' loans for this years' planting. The farmers will be able to get enough good quality seed for planting their fields. After they have sold their harvest, they pay back their loan with no interest. This method opens up a door of hope for farmers who were previously 'enslaved' by high interest loans which they had little hope of ever repaying.

These two projects are infusing the village of Keur Soce with hope! At Andando we too are hopeful as we walk together with friends there and look to a brighter future for the people of this village.