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Sustainable livelihoods in horticulture

Sustainable livelihoods in horticulture

In November 2016 our first cohort of students (9 girls and 5 boys) successfully graduated from a 10-month vocational training programme at the CIPA, a local, government-run horticulture centre. They learned about market gardening, fruit cultivation and poultry farming. They have since set up their own cooperative, and started growing their first crops.

Following on from this success, we wanted to provide the same quality training to another one of our target groups: “talibes”, who are amongst the most vulnerable children and young people in Senegal. Mostly boys, aged 4 and above, they are sent by their parents, often across the country, to a “daara” (Koranic school). These schools are unregulated, yet culturally very important. The younger children are often sent by their “marabouts” (teachers) to beg on the streets to pay for their education. An estimated 50,000 talibes are begging on the streets of Senegal.

While older talibes do small jobs, rather than beg, their education still focuses on the Koran.  As a result, employment options are limited. Many end up in survival jobs or unemployed. As these schools are not part of the formal system, talibes have continuously been excluded from accessing formal vocational training.

After careful negotiations with the different parties involved and with the full collaboration of the local training centre, we reached an agreement with 4 marabouts to allow 20 of their students, aged 15 to 25, to attend the training on a part time basis. All 20 of them are all doing well and thanks to the generous support from The Funding Network, this training programme is now fully funded until our students graduate in February 2018.

But as it is our mission to secure sustainable livelihoods, the project of course does not end there! We are currently running an online crowdfunding campaign to raise the necessary funds for the next stage, which will help them secure (self-) employment. As the campaign ends on Friday 29th September 2017, donate now to help us reach our target:

With your support we will provide them with individualised personal support (through a dedicated project officer) and the necessary tools, equipment and expenses to allow them to either find employment or set up their own business. We will also help them with accessing land.

By the end of this project 20 young talibes will have secure livelihoods and be able to provide for their families. It is also our ambition to document this project and have it serve as a model to provide the same opportunities for talibes nationwide in Senegal.