Drop by Drop: Supporting Rural Senegalese Women Facing Climate Change

On March 8, 2019, Crossroads International marked International Women’s Day in Mboro, Senegal by launching its “Drop by Drop” project. This new initiative aims at helping strengthen the resilience of the women in Cherif Lô and Pambal who face challenges related to climate change. The innovative project is being implemented by Crossroads International and its local partner, Réseau des organisations paysannes et pastorales du Sénégal [Senegalese network of farming and pastoralist organizations] (RESOPP). It will focus on the accessibility and efficient use of productive water in the two communities in the Niayes region, in the northwestern part of the country.

Christine Messier, Program Director, Crossroads International announces: “This project will enhance Crossroads International’s intelligent farming programming by taking into account the reality of Senegal’s women farmers. The economic benefits will lighten the workload of women; they will no longer need to go in search of water for their crops.”

The two-year initiative will indeed help some 1 500 women farmers grow new crops and adopt farming practices that are more resilient to climate change.

 

SUPPORTING WOMEN’S RESILIENCE

Adapting to the effects of climate change is a crucial issue in terms of sustainably developing Senegalese agriculture. An increase in average temperatures combined with a drop-in rainfall amounts is resulting in smaller harvests. Climate instability has led to dramatic increases in the level of poverty experienced by those living in rural areas. Women depending, for the most part, on natural resources to provide for themselves and their families, they are much more vulnerable to the effects of climate. Financial assistance of over $730 000 received from the government of Quebec’s Green Fund as part of the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan, has been crucial.

“Women’s access to and efficient use of productive water is the best response to the effects of climate change,” according to Ablaye Ndour, Head of Agriculture, RESOPP.

 

using TECHNOLOGY for THE ENVIRONMENT

The project will equip 10 market gardens, managed exclusively by women, with eco-friendly irrigation technology. Wells, pumping systems and drip irrigation technology will be installed and will run on solar power. In fact, climate change has also resulted in environmental damage and excessive use of agriculture-related resources, including water. The new technology is intended to encourage eco-friendly farming practices that are better suited to the region and more environmentally friendly.

 

STRENGTHENing CAPACITIES FOR THE COMMUNITY

This initiative, which was announced last year, will strengthen agricultural production and facilitate diversification by introducing new drought-resistant crops.

“As the saying goes: ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow.’ And drop by drop, the lives of 1 500 women of Chérif Lô and Pambal will be improved, thanks to this project,” added Babacar Samb, Crossroads’ Program Officer and Country Representative for Senegal.

The project complements the technological changes with capacity-building measures for producing, storing and marketing produce. At the end of the project, women farmers will have the appropriate equipment as well as the technological and marketing training needed to make a year-round living from their market gardens. The ultimate objective is to improve and diversify their income, which will benefit some 22 000 people living in the communities of Pambal and Cherif Lô, located in the Tivaouane department.