Regenerating forests to bring life back
10 November, 2011: Many villages in Senegal live through seasons of drought every year where the availability of water is scarce. These conditions often mean that families relocate to other regions until the effects of the drought start to disappear.
Many villages have been trying to renovate the land and revive the greenery themselves in order to regenerate the land and provide sustainable land to live on all year round. A local villager from Poundium, St. Louis, proudly showed us the results of his hard work: “All of this land was completely desolate before we started tending to it 10 years ago. We have spent lots of time looking after the crops to maintain their growth.”
Despite this hard work and the strong results, maintaining and protecting the land can be difficult as very often an unauthorised cutting down of trees takes place. The local villages rely on this land for many things including as a source of income for women who use the greenery to harvest herbs to sell in local markets and thereby help provide for their families.
Plan in action
Plan Senegal have put in place training programmes for the farmers of local communities so that they can share their experiences and skills with other farmers with the aim of improving farming methods and better maintaining the land.
Through this they have learnt how to properly tend the greenery and are no longer planting and watering seedlings but instead tending to the trees and plants that already exist, and in turn naturally regenerating the land. Now many of the villages where Plan has been working are able to house livestock. As a direct result of the re-growth of crops, animals including rabbits, monkeys, squirrels and warthogs are also starting to return. This provides the villagers with another source of income as the development of reserves attract tourists to the area.
In the past, communities had to leave their homes for up to 2 years as there was nothing left in the village, with land left barren and desert-like, and no source of income. A local farmer from Tiénialdé, St. Louis, recounted a time when he had to leave his home and relocate to be able to provide for his family. “Thanks to Plan,” he said, “there is now an infrastructure and families can use their own land to provide for their children”.
Plan in schools
Plan is working in schools throughout Senegal to raise awareness among children of the effects of climate change, teaching them to better prepare for and cope with the challenges.
“It is important for us children to be involved in the work with climate change as we are the adults of tomorrow,” said the president of the environmental club at the C E M Fass school in St.Louis.