An Insider's Story About Our Forest Garden Project
Every time you buy a product, we plant a tree. But have you thought about how these trees are planted and the good that they do?
Through our Forest for the Future initiative we help over 284 families in Kongheul, Senegal grow sustainable Forest Garden Projects. While the theory seems simple, there are countless hours of work that ensure each tree is planted and every crop grown for the greatest possible impact. Through these projects, participating farmers overcome issues that are common in their communities, grow trees to feed their families, create sustainable incomes and nurture the earth.
While sales of Éminence products help fund these amazing projects, Forest Garden Project Team Leads like Bakary Camara are the people on site who make the projects as successful as they are. Bakary has been the Lead Technician on site since 2015 and is currently managing the Forest Garden Projects in Koungheul. Bakary originally trained as a mason and spent a year in university before he left school to plant cereal crops for a local organization in Koungheul. He later joined the Kongheul Forest Garden Projects under the mentorship of well-respected Lead Technician, Yoro Camara. After teaching Bakary for just seven short months, the master of the Forest Gardens unfortunately passed away. The organization had to move quickly to find the best person to take over the monumental project that encompasses 250 sites and over 80,000 participants. After an extensive interview process, Bakary was honored to be chosen as the new Team Lead Technician.
With the excitement of this new role, Bakary also faced several challenges. He was one of many innocent citizens whose homes were destroyed and land confiscated for government-initiated road expansions. He was forced to move and start his life over, yet he never wavered. With a life to rebuild and a new baby in the family, he persevered and continued to work and even help develop the Trees for the Future Technician Forum trainings. Not only did he stay dedicated to his work, he also built a house for his family - alone and by hand - and offered up their new home as the training center for the upcoming Technicians Forum.
These quarterly forums are vital to the success of the program as they provide farmers with updated practices to support their Forest Garden Projects. They include discussions about new reporting guidelines, safety and security updates, a planted trees count, Lead Tech updates, as well as an opportunity to demonstrate techniques. This ensures that trees are not only planted - and successful forest gardens are grown - but also that effective new techniques are communicated to all project sites.
Without the dedication and determination of Team Leads like Bakary, these projects would not be nearly as successful as they are - and the time, dedication and attention to detail to keep these projects running smoothly cannot go understated.
We thank everyone for their hard work, long days and prowess in overcoming obstacles and making this program a success.
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