There’s a great deal of growing going on in Senegal! Let’s go to Casamance to take stock of our first year of collaboration with the association Plantons Utile. A beautiful project that reminds us of the tremendous capacity of nature to regenerate and of man to reinvent himself.
An innovative ecological farm
In 2021, Equestrio Foundation decided to collaborate with the association Plantons Utile to support its work in Casamance, a rural region in southern Senegal particularly affected by environmental changes, massive deforestation and the exodus of the population fleeing food insecurity resulting from inefficient agricultural practices.
Faced with this situation, Clément Sambou, co-founder of the Senegalese social start-up Eco From Africa (EFA), and Quentin Lemetais, director of Plantons Utile Switzerland, set themselves the ambitious challenge of creating an agroecological pilot farm operating, among other things, on a permaculture and agroforestry model. They have made it their base camp to carry out their three-fold action: environmental preservation, ecological awareness and training in market gardening and processing.
We decided to support this inspiring 360° project, which aims for a fundamental shift in lifestyles and production methods while empowering the local inhabitants.
Action 1: Planting of 30,000 trees
Trees: a source of life
We all know that opposites attract, and this complementarity can sometimes turn into a complete interdependence. We have a vital need for trees – and not just because they capture the CO2 we produce to provide us in turn with the oxygen we need to breathe. Our lives and that of trees are also intrinsically intertwined because they are the true architects of our ecosystems, our biodiversity and our resilience to climate change. They are a shining example with the benefits they offer, both ecological and economical
Saving the mangrove swamps
In the world of trees, mangroves are the champions, with their capacity to capture 5 times more CO2 per hectare than terrestrial forests. This vegetation, which develops between tides and coastal areas, also plays a crucial role in protecting coasts from climate hazards and in fostering the growth of marine fauna. However, despite this tremendous service their provide us with, almost half of them have been destroyed worldwide.
Through our funding in 2021, Equestrio Foundation contributed to their restoration with the planting of 30,000 trees of 15 different species in collaboration with the villagers of Casamance. “30,000 trees” also means an additional 30 kg of CO2 absorbed and a real increase in biodiversity over the long term.
Action 2: Awareness raising and training
When change becomes the new normal
Although planting trees is an important part of Plantons Utile’s environmental actions, it’s not enough. Lasting change must necessarily hinge on an in-depth shift in habits. In order to anchor this progress over the long term, the association combines its reforestation actions with awareness-raising initiatives among the inhabitants to help them understand current environmental issues, particularly the importance of our forest heritage, and to train them in its preservation. A transmission of knowledge at the source, for structural transformations.
Promoting self-sufficiency for the people of Casamance
Fully in line with this social entrepreneurship approach, Equestrio Foundation has supported awareness-raising and training operations in Casamance villages and schools. In 2021, close to 300 people benefited directly or indirectly from this project, whether thanks to the development of skills enabling them to take these actions further on their own, or thanks to the implementation of local ecological infrastructures to improve their living conditions (provision of biofuels, composting areas, etc.).
True to our commitment to having a real impact, we are delighted to see all the seeds sown grow and change the course of so many destinies. A symbol of hope with deeply rooted foundations. We can’t wait to tell you what happens next!