ActionAid officials and partners from Senegal and The Gambia hold a
review of the Agro Ecology and Resilience Project
Kaolack, 18thMAY 2015

ActionAid officials and partners from The Gambia and Senegal including
key service providers have returned home from Kaolack, Senegal where
they reviewed progress, key achievements and challenges made during
the implementation of the Agro Ecology and Resilience project. The
project is funded by the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation located in
Minneapolis in the United States of America. It is a two-year project
being piloted in The Gambia and Senegal targeting vulnerable
communities which were negatively impacted by the Sahel drought
crisis.The first phase of this grant ran from June 2013 to May
2015.Farmers regularly face issues such as drought, floods, late
rains, deforestation and rising sea levels. ActionAid’s response was
primed on three key areas of Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR),Climate
Resilient Sustainable Agriculture (CRSA) and Documentation and Shared
Learning.ActionAid is working to help farmers, particularly women, to
become more resilient to these challenges by adapting their
agriculture, using strategies to reduce the risk of disaster and
rolling out early warning systems.

From L-R: Farmer Awa Jallow, AAITG ED Omar Badji, Governor of Kaolack,
Aissata Dia and AAS CD Dellaphine Houekpon
The project has registered significant successes since it began two
years ago.Women farmers noted that the Reflective Action Participatory
Vulnerability Analysis (PVA) exercise afforded them a chance to be
empowered through participation and making decisions at community
level on development issues.“We now have a better understanding of our
context and are better prepared to respond to hazards should they
occur”, said Kaddy Jammeh from Toubakolong village in The
Gambia.Farmers identified availability of quality seeds, food,
improved planting materials, enhancement of household income,
improvements in child welfare and education as some of the successes
of the project. They however noted that sharing of local knowledge,
limited resources and inadequate awareness of climate change issues
are some of the challenges they faced under the project.

CD of Senegal Dellaphine and the Kaolack governor    Some participants at
the meeting

The opening ceremony, which was chaired by the Head of Programmes for
ActionAid Senegal, Aissata Dia, was made by the Governor of Kaolack
who said: “I am very concerned about the damages that climate change
has brought about in the two countries. I would like to commend
ActionAid for building the resilience of farmers and empowering women
in The Gambia and Senegal”. The governor called for increased
partnerships between public, private and civil society which he said
will ensure more successes for the project.

The Country Director of ActionAid Senegal Dellaphine B. Rauch Houekpon
and Omar Badjie Executive Director of ActionAid International The
Gambia emphasized the importance of farming in both countries and how
it is being affected by climate change. “The Agro Ecology and
Resilience Project helped to look at options to rain fed agriculture
in The Gambia and Senegal where the rainy season lasts for only three
to four months”, they stated. They went on to disclose that the next
phase of the project has been approved by the Margaret A Cargill
Foundation and it is expected that the gains made in the first phase
will be consolidated, enhanced and replicated in other areas.

The Executive Director of ActionAid (seated 2nd from left) with some

“Agro-ecology empowers communities to engage in sustainable
agricultural practices through making use of farming systems that
maximize productivity for the farmers while preserving them for future
generations”, says Garikai Magaya, the Manager of the Project for
Senegal and The Gambia

Woman smallholder farmer Awa Jallow from Senegal speaking on behalf of
the communities of Kedougou, Niodior and Tamba said: “this project has
made us become resilient. For us, with or without rain we can
survive”. Another woman farmer- Fatou Ndow from Pakau Njogu in The
Gambia stated: “We have benefitted greatly from this project. It took
us from difficult circumstances to the progress we are experiencing
today”. Both farmers commended ActionAid for the support and prayed
for its success.

The participants visited the communityof Baout in the district of
Djirna where women farmers living on the island and experiencing low
rainfall and rising sea levels, have been forced to stop farming due
to salt intrusion in their rice fields. The women are now growing
vegetables on tables. “Because of the project, we now understand how
climate change was causing our sorrows and how to cope with them. We
now have vegetables year-round and hopes for the future”, said
AmieDioufthe President of the Women’s Vegetable Garden Project.

The meeting ended with an interface with service providers on
meteorology which took the form of a question and answer session. The
second phase of the project is expected to start in June this year and
will last for three years.
ActionAid Press Release