Conclusion of Missirah Ouseman Community Garden Well Project – Senegal
The project was to build a cement-lined well, connected to two cement water basins, inside an enclosed community garden.
The goal of the project was to provide chain-link metal fencing around a community garden, to prevent roaming animals from eating the plants. We also wanted to dig a cement-lined well, connected to a water basin by underground piping, providing year-round access to clean water. The community reached both goals of the project.
The villagers identified and defined their goal of a community garden through a Participatory Analysis for Community Action (PACA) workshop. They took the initiative to follow up the workshop and identify the garden project as the village’s foremost goal. Cooperative work on the garden built the villagers’ professional relationships with one another, required them to collaborate on the planning and building process, and created a forum for information and skill exchange.
The achievement of a definitive timeline, a plan to generate income from vegetables grown, and a sustained community fund to which group members are required to contribute monthly for maintenance work all make apparent the villagers’ improved capacity to meet goals and objectives.
Village members embraced responsibility through designing, organizing and implementing a project about which they care greatly. This has resulted in greater self-esteem for those involved. Women especially have had the chance to feel part of a collaborative effort, something that was lacking in the past gardening system. Participation in this group project encouraged the exchange of information and skills, and increased the members’ perception of their decision-making abilities.
The village will also benefit from increased vegetable intake as a result of the community garden. With the chain-link fencing in place, they do not have to worry about roaming animals destroying their vegetables, and with the well, they do not have to carry water from so far away.
The village has a community fund that will be used for fence and well maintenance.
We express our gratitude to Emily for completing the project, and again extend our thanks to Mark Sullivan for providing the funding.