In this part of the world, women carry the burden of maintaining the home and family. As a means of feeding their families and earning money for basic living expenses, some women who have access to land tend small gardens near their homes. But the obstacles to their success can be staggering.
We've begun an initiative to help support the basic necessities of local gardens which can save countless hours of time and precious energy. The goal is that these women will have space in their lives to plan for the future of their family, instead of their daily battle for survival.
Our typical process includes providing support with the following elements:
Step 1: Learn about the needs of the community. Before committing to a partnership, a clear understanding of what the community wants to do is crucial.
Step 2: Agree on shared goals. In order to succeed, all members of the community must share the same vision.
Step 3: Complete groundwater test. Local specialists help us to ensure responsible, safe groundwater extraction.
Step 4: Design the new garden. The design is led by the gardeners themselves, helping them meet their challenges as they decide is best.
Step 5: Drill a new well. After ensuring that groundwater can be safely extracted, we work with our partners to bring year-round water to the garden (and the community itself).
Step 6: Fencing and gates. After years of sleeping on the grounds of the garden to protect their crops from animals, this is a life-changing step.
Step 7: Shelter and toilets. Shelters are a place of resting, gathering, meeting and exchanging ideas. Toilets save the women valuable time.
Step 8: Water tower. Supplying critical storage and water pressure to the taps, the water tower is a symbol of the women's new garden.
Step 9: Solar-powered water pump. Taking advantage of the powerful sun in Mali, all gardens are equipped with solar-powered water pumps to fill their towers.
Step 10: Water taps. The women of the garden decide how many taps are included and where they are located on the grounds.
Step 11: Training and equipment. Many of the women who join the garden will not have experience, so we support their best beginning through training and access to proper tools.
Step 12: Cooking stoves. We install a fuel-efficient mud brick stove for any family in the community that wants one.
Step 13: Continuing support. Once their garden is up and running, we continue to connect the women with resources to help them meet their goals.
Step 14: Celebrate. After months of planning and hard work on the part of the community, it's finally time to give thanks and celebrate a new beginning.
My name is Nagnouman Samake from N’korobougou, a member of the garden. I would like to share with you what it was like in this village when I was young.
Before, there were many tall trees like Kaïlcedrat, Néré, Shea, big mangoes. And these trees gave us a lot of fruit — there were plenty of trees here. When the rainy season came, it rained very well here and people had success farming. There was water in the stream even during the dry season. Coming back from the market, we could hear birds singing everywhere and the animals drank water in the stream. We often drank water there too because it was clean and fresh. But we can't drink the water in the stream now because it is contaminated with chemicals.
Cutting down trees and making charcoal are more recent sources of income. When we started to cut down trees, we noticed that the rain also started to fall less. Due to the dryness, the remaining Shea trees now only give us a bit of fruit. Honestly, things are different now in many ways. Big trees are disappearing, we face a great lack of water and it is more difficult to feed our families. Nature is becoming damaged. In my opinion, these things didn’t happen before.
Thank you to The Wash Project for being a great supporter for us. Our dream is to have a good garden with a lot of available space for us to work.”
- Nagnouman Samake, a member of the women’s garden in N’korobougou