Food Security Bi-weekly Update for March 14, 2012
PCV Martin Van Den Berghe has been working with the primary school in Kondokhou (Kedougou) since last July to start a school garden. A live fence was started during the rainy season, and a vegetable nursery was planted in late November. Improved techniques such as double digging, intercropping and mulching are being demonstrated in the garden. The 65 students in CM 1 and CM 2 are in charge of watering and maintaining the garden; they have been split into groups, with each group in charge of watering morning and evening for each day of the week, and a different teacher in charge of supervising each day. When the lettuce was ready to be harvested, the students in CM 1 and CM 2 had a small party and augmented their fresh lettuce with onions and fish. The school lunch program opened March 12, so the vegetables in the garden, namely carrots, tomatoes, eggplant and turnips, are being used to supplement the lunch. About 130 children in total are benefiting from the vegetables produced in the garden.
PCV April Muñiz offered a basic beekeeping course in Tambacounda on March 2. The purpose of this training was to prepare 13 Volunteers from all sectors to be able to provide support to beekeepers and to better understand this trade in an effort to incorporate beekeeping into their sector work. The class focused on the stages of development of a bee colony, the role of bees in pollination, the history of beekeeping, the different methods of beekeeping in Senegal, and harvesting honey, among other things. The next day, Community Enterprise Development APCD Amar Sall, Muñiz and 3 other PCVs visited a beekeeping cooperative. Sall and Muñiz are working with the Union Nationals des Apicultures du Senegal and with the Federation de ONG Senegalese to organize and schedule future trainings for local beekeepers and PCVs.
From March 6-11, Agriculture PTA Youssoupha Boye made a tour of 6 women’s group gardens and 1 CEM in the Kolda and Tambacounda regions. During the first 3 visits, in Koulinto, Thianfara Koba and Saare Majja (Kolda), he toured the gardens with the PCVs who work with the women, Jenae Woodward, Dan Hodson and Cara Stieger, and provided technical advice and recommendations, particularly with respect to pest issues that the women are experiencing. With assistance from Master Farmer Demba Balde and PCVs Allyson Junker, Cara Stieger, Dan Hodson and Jenae Woodward, he trained 19 women in Saare Koutayel and 20 women in Saare Yeroji (Kolda) in companion planting, integrated pest management, seed selection and storage, and other improved techniques. He also led a training regarding double digging, soil amendments, integrated pest management, and intercropping, among other gardening topics, with PCVs Chelsea Moeller and Tucker Dammin for about 30 women and 10 men in Pidirou and 10 men at the CEM in Mampatim (Kolda). In Thiewol Lao (Kolda), Boye was assisted by Master Farmer Amadou Gano and PCVs Kelly Henkler, Mary Cadwallender, Missy Orr, Allyson Junker and Lisa Riggs when he led a 2 day garden training for 42 women. They were trained in double digging, composting, integrated pest management, micro finance, proper spacing, intercropping, and tree nursery establishment and maintenance. The training also involved a tour of the Master Farmer field in Thiewol Lao.
PCVs Lisa Curcuruto, Tom Wagner and Amanda Grossi led their first agriculture class on March 7 with 12 students in 3ème at Adja Penda Ba College, an alternative middle school in Nioro (Kaolack) financed by Open International. The lesson involved a discussion on the theory of compost in the classroom and then a practical session in the school’s garden where they made compost piles. The PCVs plan to hold weekly or bi-weekly classes for these students about gardening and agroforestry as a way to provide them with practical knowledge and skills.
On March 12, Master Farmer Abdou Salam Ba, with assistance from Agroforestry PTA Cherif Djitte and PCV Peter Gill, led a training in Fas Toucouleur (Kaolack) for 23 farmers about live fencing. They discussed seed collection, seed storage, and seed scarification and other seed treatments for live fencing tree species, as well as tree nursery establishment and maintenance. A few local farmers with live fencing knowledge also provided advice and recommendations from their personal experiences. The training was based in the Master Farmer field, allowing visitors to see first-hand what a live fence looks like.
On March 13, representatives from Peace Corps, USAID Wula Nafaa, USAID Yaajeende, USAID PCE, USAID ERA and USDA CLUSA met in Kaolack to discuss conservation farming. Each group reviewed its conservation farming activities from the 2011 rainy season and its plans for the 2012 rainy season. The meeting also involved a discussion about how coordination among groups can be improved for more synergy regarding conservation farming. Plans were made for the upcoming International Agriculture and Livestock Fair (FIARA) in April, where these partners will host a booth on conservation farming.
From March 5-16, Agriculture APCD Famara Massaly and Agriculture PTA Youssoupha Boye are visiting Agriculture PCVs throughout Senegal. These visits are an opportunity for Agriculture staff to provide technical and community integration assistance to PCVs, lead trainings for their communities, interview potential Master Farmers, and network with other development agencies in the PCVs’ areas. Another similar tourney with Massaly and PCVL Danielle Stoermer for the regions missed in this tourney (namely, Kaffrine, Kaolack and Fatick) is scheduled for March 26-31.
PCVs Meredith Hickson and Sara Kuech are planning a diabetes sensitization tourney for 8 villages in the Matam and Kolda regions from March 20-27 and April 17-22, respectively. Their local ICPs and relays will be leading the sensitization events, so they will spend one day training these individuals before going on tourney. During the events, they will discuss what diabetes is, how to get tested for it, what to avoid eating and what to eat in order to manage diabetes, and the importance of exercise. They will also test everyone at the events for diabetes; anyone with abnormally high blood sugar will get a booklet to help him/her keep track of his/her blood sugar level and blood pressure. These individuals will then be encouraged to visit their health post regularly in order to get assistance in managing their diabetes. Hickson and Keuch plan to continue working with the health posts involved in the tourney to help them be able to further improve their diabetes assistance for their communities by, for example, giving glucometers to health posts that do not have them and providing more training in how they can counsel locals on how to manage abnormally high blood sugar levels. They also plan to gather data to see if there is an increase in people seeking advice regarding diabetes, if the booklets are being used and if those with abnormally high blood sugar levels are doing a better job at managing this problem.
PCVs Tucker Dammin, Chelsea Moeller and Dominica Martin will be hosting Moringa trainings in Ngoki and Saare Beydad (Kolda) on March 19 and 20, respectively. They will be working with their local health relays to train community members in how to grow Moringa in a compound as well as in an intensive bed, how to harvest, dry and pound the leaves in order to produce Moringa leaf powder, and the nutritional benefits of Moringa.
About 15 PCVs in the Tambacounda region are planning a girls’ leadership camp for 25 middle-school girls and their fathers at the end of March. The camp will be held in Tambacounda and includes days focusing on nutrition as well as how to start and maintain a garden and tree nursery.