Ten years ago, Eric Toumieux, former director of World Vision in Senegal, discovered that villages in the arid north needed more than clean water, basic health service and schools in order to survive. Without trees, villages die. (see it on video here) He and a few associates then did something that seemed foolish to local farmers. They built a fence around 100 hectares and… waited. The fence kept grazing animals from devouring young tree shoots. Then, thanks to simple FMNR pruning techniques, a veritable forest began sprouting from otherwise useless and barren African savannah.
They call the project “Beersheba” and no one is laughing now as native flowers, animals and birds (like the one pictured here, photographed on-site at Beersheba), are returning to the fenced-in project. Tall grasses provide animal feed and prunings are burned down to valuable charcoal. Beersheba is a self-supporting community, modeling easily-transferable techniques that are turning once-useless depleted lands into valuable, sustainable forests.
Beersheba has now recruited Senegalese young men to live together in this “magic” 100 hectare property where they are learning the simple secrets of FMNR before being sent out to villages throughout the region.
Planting Together is partnering with Beersheba to bring volunteers from around the world to help build sustainable model communities. Teams are invited to come during the pruning season, (from January through May) to help “regreen” once useless land and bring a legacy of hope into these remote villages of the African Sahel!
Read more about Beersheba