Le Potager des Dames
Le Potager des Dames
It is an international aid program to be run in Senegal between March and September 2016. The aim: to enable ten Senegalese women volunteers to set up their own market garden. This project is initiated as a joint partnership between the Nianing Rural Promotion Centre (CPRN), a local reception centre, and 3D'Tour, a student association of Nancy (France).
Map with the location of Senegal and Nianing.
The key goals of this project are to build facilities and provide lands and equipment, as well as full training. Our vision: to address the need and wishes of the local population and ensure full autonomy for the women in order to develop a sustainable activity.
Agriculture, stock farming, and fishing are the main industries in Senegal, and 50% of the working population makes a living out of it. In the Nianing region, market gardening is growing even though it remains fragile due to lack of training and support. It is difficult for women to take up farming activities because the lands are traditionally owned by the men. Their main source of revenue consists of shell collecting and sale of artefacts outside hotels. Nevertheless, these activities are struggling. The last hotel in Nianing closed several months ago as tourism is faced with the Ebola epidemic and increased taxes linked to the adoption of the biometric visa. Moreover, marine resources are depleted by overexploitation of the marine environment.
The development of a farming activity would provide women with a more reliable source of income and more autonomy. This facility requires access to lands, support and training. The CPRN owns undeveloped lands and this would be a good opportunity to help the women. They would thus be able to develop strong and durable market gardening activities.
The first group of 10 women clearing the plots to set up their market garden
The Nianing Rural Promotion Centre (CPRN) has been taken over and restored by Brother Christophe Ngom since 2009 and is supported by the Congregation of the Brothers of the Sacred-Heart. Its objective is to participate in the promotion of the rural world by providing assistance and material support and follow-up until the market gardeners achieve autonomy.
The CPRN provides assistance to the peasant world, wholly male, in the rural communities of Malicounda and Ngueniere in the Nianing area. It has offered its unexploited plots to the women living in Nianing and the first 30 who replied to the call have been considered. They have since created the Mbog-a-Yaay Group of Nianing. This name refers to the family: their aim is to create a united group, like a broad family!
Last year, two operational wells were built with the support of CORDAID, a Dutch NGO, to provide water for the plots. These wells do not provide enough water for 30 women and only 11 of them have started their market gardening activity at the Centre. Our objective is to continue with this project by building a new well to increase the water supply and install another group of 10 women.
This aid program is therefore locally based. It addresses the wishes of the population of Nianing and continues a pre-existing project.
The first group of 10 women drawing water at the mill pond
Our objectives are to build a well in March 2016, which will allow the development of market garden plots for ten women. We will provide the women with the equipment required and take care of the reception and assistance of the women’s group from May to September 2016, that is for the duration of their first market gardening campaign (growth cycle from seeding to harvesting). Training in farming techniques and budget management will be put in place by Brother Christophe Ngom and ourselves to ensure the technical and financial autonomy of the women.
The project does not stop there! We hope to be able to share our experience and raise awareness for international aid with a wider audience. We will make presentations for students in the suburban town of Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy. A photo exhibition will be set up at the University library of the Brabois technopole and it will be followed by a conference organised at the ENSAIA (National School of Agronomy and Food Industries). These activities will allow us to share our experience, raise awareness for international aid and provide advice for students who would like to undertake the same project.
But there are upshots for others than students: other presentations, this time geared as entertaining events, that will be put in place in primary and secondary schools. We will present our project and set up activities to illustrate a particular theme by linking it, if possible, with the school curriculum. For instance, we could lead a practical gardening workshop, introduce Senegalese culture with a cooking workshop or compare the fauna and flora.
Themes designed for secondary school are mainly directed towards sustainable development and setting up an international aid program. This will enable us to reflect with them on the stakes of these operations and on the various situations that may be met and how to manage them.
To ensure proper operation and durability of the activity of the women, we will remain in contact with them through Brother Christophe Ngom, who will be responsible for assistance in the long term.
But that’s not all! We will communicate with the ENSAIA students to suggest that they continue our project the following year with Brother Christophe Ngom by setting up the remaining nine women at the Centre.
And the story could still continue in consecutive years: The Mbog-a-Yaay group intends to continue on its trajectory by creating a hen house. The CPRN also plans to expand the market gardening activity of the women to surrounding villages. It will be hard work for this latter operation, in particular in order to obtain the approval of the husbands. Still, Brother Christophe remains confident, as he has acquired a degree of authority by working with them for many years.
Allocation of funds
Funds collected from crowd funding constitutes part of the income for our estimated budget. We also approach public organisations, enterprises... and we bring out personal contribution (our own contribution) of course!
On the expense side of the ledger, we have taken all the costs required for this project into account: purchasing the equipment, setting up infrastructure, travel expenses, the presentation in France... But since a picture is worth more than a long speech, we will let you have a look at our estimated budget:
*A: acquired; E: expected
** on condition of public co-financing
The amount of €1,000 from the crowdfunding campaign will be spent at the beginning to build the well necessary to set up the market garden. Without well, there is no water and thus no market gardening activity!
Straight into our pockets? No, of course!
As you can see in our expected budget, part of the income has not yet been obtained. The excess would allow us to be less dependent and to meet our funding requirement more easily. This would also help us to bounce back more easily if a request for subsidies was turned down or if the amount provided is less than expected.
For example, if we get €500 more, it will be spent to build the four pools that will be supplied by the well! In other words, a boost for the implementation of our project!
And if everything goes well and if we get all the funding hoped for? In this case, we will be able to upgrade our project, for instance, by purchasing additional farming equipment to improve the working conditions of the women.
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Estimated delivery: December 2016
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