Description of the project: CREATE! collaborates with eight rural Senegalese communities to help residents 1) gain access to abundant and affordable clean water using renewable solar energy; 2) reduce deforestation and desertification through tree planting programs and the widespread use of locally built fuel-efficient clay/sand improved cook stoves; and 3) improve their health and security through sustainable agriculture and other income generating activities. CREATE! empowers village women for self-development, using training strategies based on local knowledge, participation, and social mobilization to maximize self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

Climate Impact: Rural Senegal is experiencing drought, deforestation, and desertification resulting from climate change. CREATE! programs train and empower rural women to reduce deforestation, promote alternative energy technologies, and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Solar-powered pumps in our villages’ rehabilitated wells provide year-round access to clean water without producing carbon emissions. During our 2015 reforestation campaign, women-led cooperatives in CREATE! communities planted 19,000 tree seedlings throughout their villages. Trees serve as windbreaks and stabilize soils to slow desertification in Senegal. This campaign, in conjunction with the widespread use of fuel-saving improved cook stoves, is helping to combat deforestation. The Senegalese government honored CREATE! for these contributions on World Environment Day in 2015.

Gender Impact: In CREATE! partner villages, women and their families now have access to clean water, fresh food, and income generating opportunities. Our programs improve the health and safety of rural women while simultaneously reducing their workload. Because improved cook stoves use less wood, women can gather wood (and risk their safety) less frequently. Improved cook stoves also produce less smoke and reduce the risk of burns. With access to water, women can now work in female-led agricultural cooperatives to grow healthy vegetables throughout the year. Fresh vegetables improve diets and help women earn an income by selling produce in local markets. CREATE! programs empower women by helping them build financial security for their families through cooperative gardening, income generating programs, and community savings and lending associations.