News

Image Community festival to promote the environment

As part of the "A Kop Allè No Maag Olé - La forêt de la mer" project, Océanium, in partnership with IRHA and local authorities, organized a community festival focusing on the preservation of local resources and the restoration of the mangrove swamp. The event took place on Saturday, December 16, in Faoye, a small village nestled in an inlet (bolong) in Senegal's Siné Saloum region.

As part of the promotion and to reach out to the wider community, the week leading up to the event saw the d...


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Image Strengthening women's groups in agro-ecological practicesAs part of the Femme de Terre project, a reinforcement of 5 women's groups was organized by the field agent of APAF Sénégal (Association pour la Promotion des Arbres Fertilitaires, IRHA's partner in this project). Spread over two days, it took place in two market garden plots located around Keur Maba, in the Kaolack region of Senegal.

Over 40 women from 5 different groups took part in the training sessions, which were structured to maximize farmer-to-farmer exchanges. Both the APAF technicia...
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Where run-off stops!

by sylvestre | 8 December 2023
Image Where run-off stops!

We love rainwater and love to harvest it to make it available to people and ecosystems, but during rainy season, too much of rainwater can generate run-off causing major destruction to infrastructures, making communities even more vulnerable.

This is why we can not approach rainwater/stormwater management without including sustainable land management approaches into it. This was done in Kaolack in the frame of the project in partnership with Caritas Kaolack.

Gabions were set across gullies to s...


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Image Listening to the low signals - Working alongside those who are driving change

In the countries in which IRHA operates, we work alongside those who are who are committed to changing their daily live. With or without outside NGOs, they get involved, implement on a small scale, test and learn from their mistakes.

Too often our external NGOs, in a frantic race to attract beneficiaries and be able to deploy activities, fail to listen to the weak signals from those who, day after day day after day, implement change in their fields, as a cooperatives and at household level....


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First rain for our boulis !

by Marc Sylvestre | 31 July 2023
Image First rain for our boulis !

For several months we worked on profiling 3 boulis in the Fatick region. We identified low-lying areas where run-off accumulated, raised awareness among communities and authorities of the problem of collecting run-off and restored these wetlands by overburdening them.

These areas, most of which are abandoned or little-known, have great potential for reintroducing water into the landscape and significantly strengthening the area's ecosystems. The boulis have just received their first rains and...


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Rainwater run-off control programme

by Mbaye Anna Dramé | 28 June 2023
Image Rainwater run-off control programme

In the Sine Saloum, the advance of salty land is one of the main causes of the retreat of mangroves and plant cover, land degradation and contamination of aquifers, which form the basis of the ecosystem and the biodiversity that inhabits it. Océanium, IRHA and APAF Senegal are combining their efforts and expertise to provide an effective response to these challenges.

Through a combination of rainwater resource management, work to reintroduce agroforestry patches and community capacity-buildin...


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Gabions and erosion control

by Florian Bielser | 15 June 2023
Image Gabions and erosion control

In Senegal's Sine-Saloum region, villages near the banks of river valleys suffer extensive material damage every year as a result of run-off. This has increased after decades of deforestation upstream of the villages and clearing of the riverbanks, leading to the destabilisation of the physical environment (agro-ecosystems), the biophysical environment (fauna, avifauna, flora) and certain aspects of people's lives and mobility (habitats, roads, etc.).

Today, gullies and landslides threaten roa...


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Image Mission return - Femmes de terre

During the last two weeks of May, I went on a short mission to Senegal. During this time, I was able to visit projects carried out at the start of the year, meet old and new players, conduct awareness-raising and training sessions and supervise the start-up of activities linked to erosion control.

In this blog, I'd like more specifically to share my observations from my meeting with three women's groups from the "Femmes de Terre" project, which is being carried out in partnership with APAF Sen...


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Image Oceane's feedback - Senegal 2022

Discover the testimony of Océane, student in Master of Environmental Sciences at the University of Geneva and intern at IRHA for almost a year. She tells us about her stay in Senegal, as part of the field visit to follow the evolution of IRHA's activities.

"November 2022 was an opportunity for me to discover the land of teranga, an experience rich in all aspects: human encounters, cultural discoveries, culinary and musical initiations, not to mention the magnificent landscapes covered with t...


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Calabash tanks across borders !

by Aziz Konaré | 17 February 2023
Image Calabash tanks across borders !

During the period between January 17 and February 03 2023, a reinforcement training on calebash rainwater harvesting tanks was held in Guinea Bissau. This training brought together mason-trainers from four West African countries: Nigeria, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau and Senegal.

On this occasion, IRHA sent the team that has built most of the calabash tanks in Senegal since 2019 (more than 130!), namely, the coordinator and technician Abdoul Aziz Konaré and the two masons Habib Ndong and M...


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Florian's feedback - Senegal 2022

by Florian Bielser | 26 January 2023

November 2022 was the occasion for IRHA to carry out a field visit to Senegal in order to follow the evolution of the activities implemented by IRHA and its partners: APAF SN, Océanium de Dakar and Caritas Kaolack. This mission also allowed Océane, an intern at IRHA, to discover Senegal, its landscapes and its population. As part of her master's thesis at the University of Geneva, she is studying the links between land salinisation, local agricultural practices and the various land manageme...


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Partners meeting in Senegal

by Florian Bielser | 29 November 2022
Image Partners meeting in Senegal

During the days of November 17 and 18 was held a meeting between the various partners of the IRHA in Senegal. In addition to the IRHA team, we could count on the presence of APAF Senegal, Oceanium Dakar, Caritas Kaolack, SOS Faim, Growing Life Farm, local authorities and field actors.

On the first day, in the magnificent setting of the hotel de la Source aux Lamantins in Djilor, on the banks of a bolong, the local name for an arm of the sea, participants were able to follow a series of trainin...


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The boulis - An island of greenery in Sahel

by Florian Bielser | 15 September 2022
Image The boulis - An island of greenery in SahelIn Senegal, but more globally in the entire Sahelian region, water problems are increasingly worrying for populations and ecosystems. Indeed, this region is subject to a rainfall regime of only 3-4 months followed by a complete dry period of 8-9 months.

As part of its territorial diagnosis, the IRHA located existing water points in the Sine Saloum region, Senegal. These water points, locally called marigots are essential for the watering of livestock but also for all wild biodiversity.

U...
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In the context of the International Day for the Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems on 26 July, IRHA is pleased to present its latest project in collaboration with Oceanium de Dakar in the Sine Saloum estuary in central Senegal: "A Kop Ale no Maag Olè (the Forest of the Sea in Wolof). It will support during 24 months the communities of four estuarine villages located in the commune of Djilasse (Fatick, Senegal).

This initiative, supported by the AP Foundation, aims specifically to strengthen ...
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The rain : between blessing and curse

by Florian Bielser | 12 April 2021

Deforestation, caused in large part by the expansion of agricultural land, amplifies the vulnerability of the soil to seasonal climatic variations (drought, heavy rains, etc.). The rain, initially perceived as a blessing by the farmers, can then become particularly devastating!

In Keur Maba Diakhou’ municipality, where the "Of earth and rain" project operates, soils are greatly suffering from water erosion. This causes large gullies that threaten both inhabited and cultivated areas.

Faced...


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It's time to take stock of the "De terre et de pluie" project, which is completing its first year of implementation, which has been particularly eventful!

Yancoba (CTA) and the agroforestry farmers did not skimp on efforts and adaptation strategies to carry out the agroforestry campaign despite the many difficulties related to the sanitary context and the delay of the rains.

After a week of mission rich in meetings, discoveries and exchanges with local actors, agroforestry farmers and our f...


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In search of the blue gold

by Marine Protte-Rieg | 5 January 2021
Image In search of the blue gold

Faced with demographic growth and the future amplification of climate change and health crises, rainwater is more than ever a precious resource for the sahelian rural populations. Channeling, collecting and storing this ephemeral "blue gold" becomes vital, to guarantee the fragile balance between the different uses of water, which tend to cause more conflicts each year.

In collaboration with the Water Harvesting Lab of Florence Univesity (Italy), APAF Senegal and local stakeholders, IRHA Sen...


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Image For participatory and inclusive territorial planning: results of the assessment (Fatick, Senegal)

The observation, identification and participatory analysis of the natural ressources degradation dynamics are at the heart of the ecosystem approach and nature-based solutions, supported by IRHA as part of its interventions and advocacy.

In the “Rain, Forest and People” project area (Fatick department, Senegal), IRHA and APAF Senegal have carried out, in close collaboration with local actors, a retrospective and multi-scale territorial diagnosis on the historical and anthropogenic causes...


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Harvesting "blue gold"

by Marine Protte-Rieg | 23 August 2020
Visite effectuée auprès des bénéficiaires du village de Soudiane Thiélème (commune de Djilasse, département de Fatick). A gauche de la calabash : Abdoulaye Gadiaga, Conseiller en techniques agroforestières du projet « La pluie, la forêt et les Hommes ». A droite : Mansour Ndiaye, directeur exécutif d’APAF Sénégal.

Two months after the beginning of a generous monsoon season in the “Rain, Forest and People” project area, the APAF Senegal team visited households which benefited from the construction of a Calabash in June 2020. The purpose of the visit was to check the quality of the new constructions and to measure the water level in the tanks.

The team was very much welcome by the selected families. The latter were fully satisfied and happy with their new rainwater harvesting system. According to test...


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Mission completed for the IRHA Senegal team!

After ten intensive days of data collection in Keur Maba Diakhou Bamunicipality (Kaolack region), it is time to handover to the APAF Senegal team for agroforestry nurseries monitoring, in the five beneficiary villages of #ofeathandrain project!

Huge thanks to Yancoba Sall Diene, advisor in agroforestry techniques of the area and Mr. Dramé, agroforestry farmer from Mandera, teacher at high school and very committed eco-citizen, for their formi...


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Rachel Hosein Nisbet (RHN): How did you come to work with APAF Senegal?

Mansour Ndiaye (MN): I am a farmer’s son. After studying agronomy, I spent 23 years working in industrial agriculture. Since 1945, Senegal has grown peanuts as a monoculture crop, to supply France. I saw forests felled and chemical fertilizers and pesticides added to newly ploughed fields. But farmers’ yields still dropped. After witnessing the harm done to farmers and topsoil by industrial agriculture, I became an...


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After three months working in our agroforestry project in Senegal, I’ve returned to Switzerland. My fieldwork has allowed me to experience this country’s extremely arid environment. In the Fatick region, the seasons contrast starkly. Normally, the rainy season, spanning the months of July to September, is when crops are planted in rural areas. However, 2019 proved to be an exceptional year, with the rains arriving extremely late. The first real rains only fell in the last week of August....


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What’s value of a tree? Tree planting is a feature of our Blue Schools, whose five components comprise rainwater harvesting, sanitation, hygiene training, tree planting and school gardens. On re-visiting two IRHA Blue Schools in Kaolack, Senegal earlier this month, Marc Sylvestre (IRHA’s Executive Director) was delighted to observe the positive impact on-campus tree planting has within the local community. The Kaolack Blue Schools were established in 2011, in partnership with Caritas Kao...


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Thirty-five farmers in Senegal’s Fatick-Thiès region are ready to harvest rain! In late May, IRHA’s Florian Biesler travelled to Senegal with our director, Marc Sylvestre, to kick off the project’s calabash construction. These rainwater reservoirs will provide the first volley of farmers participating in the 'Rain, Forests, People’ agroforestry project with the means of storing harvested rainwater. This resource will provide drinking water for their families, even at the end of the ...


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Field Notes from Florian Bielser

by Florian Biesler (trans. R. Nisbet) | 1 July 2019

Florian Bielser is a twenty-six-year-old MSc student of environmental engineering at the EPFL, Switzerland. He is currently on placement as an IRHA field manager. Here’s an edited translation of his Senegalese Field Journal:

Boyard N’diodiom, 25.06.2019

Marc and I arrived in Dakar at dusk on the 24th of May. Our short night’s sleep, followed by a bus journey, left me feeling groggy as we visited IRHA Blue Schools in Senegal’s main peanut processing and trading centre, Kaolack. But th...


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Working with committees in seven villages located in the Fatick-Thiès region of Senegal, we have now selected thirty-five local farmers, who we will train and assist in building agroforestry parcels on their land. A further seven villages will be identified in 2020, and another cohort of approximately thirty five farmers will be selected, trained and assisted to develop agroforestry parcels. The village meetings of spring 2019 took place in school classrooms, in village squares under speakin...


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The Calabash Tank Manual

by Rachel Nisbet | 28 April 2019

The Calabash Tank Manual is published by the Dutch organization Clean Water Healthy Village (degevuldewaterkruik).Paul Akkerman, who wrote the manual, co-founded this rainwater harvesting project in Bedanda, Guinea-Bisseau, in 2005. Working with Bicosse Nandafa, he sought to provide an alternative drinking water source as aquifers in the country’s coastal region experienced pronounced saltwater intrusion during the dry season. Through this intervention, Paul and his colleagues were able t...


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Senegal’s rural communities live in rapidly changing natural environments. 22 % of Senegalese (13 million people) inhabit areas where soil fertility has been dramatically reduced in the past three decades, mainly through water erosion.[1] Located in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country’s grasslands increasingly experience annual bushfires, compounding the erosion of their soils. Additionally, between 2001 and 2009, the area of cropland increased by 175 %, with large areas of this zone becomi...


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