Association Villageoise pour l’Education et le Développement de Colibantan (AVED Colibantan)
In a context of severe poverty, linked to the degradation of natural resources, and the economic and social consequences of this degradation (food insecurity, rural exodus, emigration); 10 youths in the village of Colibantan in eastern Senegal decided to act and to build an alternative. Among those youths was Kalipha Athie, who remains to this day president of the association. A shepherd up to the age of 20 and illiterate, he left his village in the 1980s hoping for a better life in the capital Dakar. He became disillusioned with the poverty he found there – particularly that of child beggars. It spurred him on to learn to read and to get involved in international reforestation programmes. In 1999 he took the opposite trajectory to a lot of young people in Senegal and moved back to his native village, convinced that his future and that of his community lay in a collective mobilisation for change. This led to the creation of the Village Association for the Education and Development of Colibantan.
“Acting together against poverty” was their motto. In its early days in the late 1990s, the association, along with 100 women, set up the first community vegetable garden in the area. It also carried out its first reforestation campaigns and experimented with solar stoves to limit wood usage. Thanks to AVED, 150 families have benefitted from economical wood stoves. AVED has since been involved in improving girls’ education, the management of a health clinic and the establishment of an environmental training centre. The organisation now manages a market garden, a rice paddy, an apiary and an agroforestry area. Its 200 members have planted over 5000 trees.
AVED, with the support of ITF, is working in 10 villages in eastern Senegal, training the local population in natural resource management, agroecology and agroforestry techniques.