We continue our series with the women of the Keur Soce women's garden cooperatives. These women are bringing beautiful gardens to life in the middle of harsh and arid conditions in rural Senegal. To learn more about the program and read part one of this series, click here. Today, we speak with Kardiata Ba.
What have you learned as a member of the Keur Soce women’s garden project?
The vegetable garden has strengthened my abilities in new cultivation techniques. Of course, before this market garden, I was trying to practice gardening but it did not succeed. We have learned to diversify the seeded area and now I know how to move forward.
How has your participation in the project changed what you believe about yourself?
It has allowed me to gain a sense of freedom and pride since I am making more income. I am able to pay for many things – especially for my children – that was not possible before.
The garden has made the community more united and organized. Working together empowers the whole community and we are becoming more successful together.
How has the project changed what you spend your time on?
There is awareness of the importance of time. Indeed, we have discovered that time is investment capital. Before, we spent a lot of time and hard work in the savannah looking for tamarind, jujube, or pick up a few handfuls of peanuts left in the field, but were left with very little. Now, we the effort we put in here, we make much better use of our time.
What else are you doing differently?
With the savings we contribute each month into our group savings, we believe that tomorrow we can achieve a degree of financial autonomy for the budget of our activities especially for things like tools, seeds, and maintenance.
It has made me believe that rural women can actively participate in the development of the community and of Senegal.
How does this make you feel about the future?
The entire community knows that we are no longer the unemployed. We are gardeners.
How has the project changed the future of the community?
The development of the community can benefit from the support of partners such as Andando Foundation. The women working here consider have two major advantages: the economic and nutritional aspects. With these tangible benefits throughout the community things are improving, and we encourage Andando to accompany us yet for new challenges.