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Senegal | Deforestation and Environmental Education Tour

Christensen, J.
volunteer from California
in Senegal

The project will consist of PCV and I going to a total of ten villages in the Kolda region, each with their own Peace Corps volunteer who can help us organize the villages before the day we arrive. We will be working with local counterparts, including my Master Farmer, and her counterpart. We will spend a full day in each village doing trainings, with the morning being dedicated to children and the afternoon dedicated to adults. For the children, we will teach an interactive lesson about deforestation followed by creating a tree nursery that they will plant seeds for desirable forest species. This lesson will be run by PCV and I, but our counterpart will be there to clarify any misunderstandings or answer any questions. We will conclude the day with the children by helping them work on the skit they will present to the village. In the afternoon, we will show a short video about the deforestation problem that is in the local language followed by a training run by our counterpart about how to properly do FMNR and proper charcoal production and woodlot creation. We also hope to include a small presentation on the economics of what deforestation will ultimately do to change rainfall and therefore the profits they receive from their rainy season crops. We will invite Senegal's Forest Service out to do a short presentation on the legality of wood harvesting. After that, we will hold a discussion to elect the community members who will be in charge of monitoring the village's wood harvesting techniques. The day will conclude with the skit. We will paint a mural either the day before or the day after to leave a reminder of the importance of sustainable wood harvesting.

The communities will provide the space for training as well as providing the in kind donation of the time of the counterparts. The communities we are going to are all desperately in need of this information. The problem with deforestation in Senegal is so huge that it is predicted that if people continue using the forest in the same manner they do currently, the Sahel Desert will expand from the north of Senegal to the Kolda Region within the next 50 years. Without this education, without a change of practices, the people in the Kolda region will not get enough rain to grow the crops they rely on to feed them and their families every year. Something has to be said, the conversation has to start and practices need to start changing. This project, although an environmental project, will actually affect the food security of the people in the Kolda region in the future. If we can get the communities we visit to change their practices and be concerned about this problem, they will become environmental advocates and spread the message to communities around them.

In addition to the trainings on deforestation, we will be working with counterparts to do a series of trainings on erosion. These trainings will take place in a local field. We will reinforce the knowledge we taught about deforestation and erosion at an Open Field Day at the end of the rainy season.

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