News

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...
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Image A Kop Ale no Maag olè (the Forest of the Sea) : Mangrove restoration project in SenegalIn 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
Image The rain : between blessing and curse

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...


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Image Mid-term evaluation of the "Of earth and rain" project (Kaolack)

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...


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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,...


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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...


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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...


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Image Keur Maba Diakhou Ba: Bringing Earth, Rain and People together.

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...


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Image Talking Agroforestry with APAF-Senegal during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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...


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Image Calabash Construction as Rainwater Hospitality

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...


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Image A Green Thought in a Blue School

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...


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Image Readying for Rain (Senegal: Rain, Forests, People Project)

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
Image Field Notes from Florian Bielser

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...


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Image  ‘Rain, Forests, People’ Project: Phase One Completed

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...


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The Calabash Tank Manual

by Rachel Nisbet | 28 April 2019
Image The Calabash Tank Manual

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...


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Image Agroforestry and Water harvesting for food security : New project in Senegal

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...


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