Supported by the Maisons du Monde Foundation since 2018, Nebeday offers technical support to the local communities in Popenguine in the north, and Toubacouta in the south in order to control the deforestation epidemic that is hitting Senegal hard: the surface area of forests has decreased from 11 million hectares to 6.3 million in the space of 60 years.
The first part of the Solidaritrips took place in the Thiès region, in the Popenguine Community Nature Reserve. This reserve was created in 1987 on the initiative of women from the eight surrounding villages in order to preserve this savannah forest that is home to an exceptional wildlife (small antelope, jackals, migratory birds, etc.). Today, more than 1,500 women have gathered together within COPRONAT (Women’s Collective for the Protection of Nature) to manage this 1,009 hectare community reserve that is unique on the Senegalese coast.
Yet, today, the reserve lacks technical and financial resources to effectively protect the fauna and flora it shelters from the surrounding human activities (local economic development, bush fires for animal breeding, etc.). That is why the President of COPRONAT contacted Nebeday to seek their assistance in effectively protecting the reserve.
Therefore, Nebeday’s project, “Saving the Popenguine reserve” aims to restore the ecosystems destroyed by deforestation by planting new trees. The staff members were able to contribute to this project by planting 4,000 palmyra palm seeds with the Popenguine villagers. Reforestation activities also provide the opportunity to raise awareness among the populations of the 8 surrounding villages about forest preservation, as Kathy N’Dione, President of COPRONAT, reminded the participants: “the environment is in our blood, our veins, our heart. And our role is to convey this to our children’s hearts so as to preserve the environment for future generations”.
With a view to ensuring viable economic alternatives, an eco-tourism camp was created in the 1980s. Nebeday is now supporting COPRONAT in the renovation of this camp which will provide them with a sustainable source of income.
Discover the project presented by Kathy N’Dione, President of COPRONAT, and Jean Goepp, President of Nebeday, here (in French).
During the second part of the stay, the staff members were able to discover the association’s other projects in the village of Toubacouta in the Sine Saloum Delta. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the delta has many mangroves that are home to an exceptional fauna and flora.
It is here that Nebeday regularly carries out operations that aim to fight deforestation in the area. In 2017, Maisons du Monde supported the “300,000 trees” operation, which allowed trees to be planted in schools in the region!
The association also supports many other projects there, including the Jappo Liguey cooperative which it has assisted over the past 8 years. This cooperative helps women to earn a sustainable income from farming moringa. The participants also got down to work and, after meeting the women from the cooperative, they helped them to create jams and sweet made with moringa, mangos and bissap.
Did you know?
Moringa or “Nebeday” in Wolof is a “magic” tree: it is easy to integrate into agroforestry systems and, helps to increase yields. It is resistant to drought and fixes nitrogen in the soil in order to enrich it. Also, it is a superfood that contains protein, calcium (10 times more than in milk), vitamins, etc.
These Solidaritrips allowed 8 staff members from France and Europe to discover the actions of an association supported by the Foundation in the field and, by meeting the local populations, to understand the challenges of forest preservation.
“I now realise the real importance of the Foundation’s actions, as well as its impacts in the field, especially for local populations. It has offered me a new perspective and, above all, I will be able to raise awareness about it among my colleagues and our customers”, Emilie Jaulin (Orvault store)