The Great Green Wall is a wall of vegetation that, in essence, holds back the Sahara Desert with vegetables and fruits. The Sahara Desert is notorious for being dry and arid, having very little ability to support, in terms of nutrition, those that live near it. In Senegal, however, the construction of the Green Green Wall has led to an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables from the arid desert, which has helped to combat high levels of malnutrition and deal with climate changes in the area.
The Great Green Wall project is an initiative to plant a wall of trees from Senegal to Djibouti, which is basically across the entirety of Africa. 11 countries are supporting members of this project, which aims to block desert winds and maintain the moisture in the soil and air by building a wall of trees.
Of course, the green in the Great Green Wall is the end result of the tireless work necessary in planting and nurturing tree saplings. In parts of Senegal, ripe tomatoes and purple aubergines show that the project works, yet, in many other parts, progress has been slow and is still incomplete. This does not mean that these parts have not already begun to benefit; it just means that political commitment and community support is very important to ensure that the trees have the potential to reach their full height.
A woman living in Widou Thiengoli, Khaira Haidara, says “When I was young, there was more water in the village and we produced our own crop of millet. This project has brought positive changes to our lives, giving us different things to eat, and now we worry less about food.”
These are the benefits of the Great Green Wall project and, because of the stage of the project, more benefits are sure to come. Other benefits that are the result of the Great Green Wall project are increased opportunities for occupation within the community as people who used to go into town to find work are now able to work with and cultivate their land. This results not only in work but more food, helping to combat malnutrition that is rampant in many parts of the area surrounding the Sahara Desert.
The Great Green Wall is a step in the right direction for sustainability. It, while still under construction, has already begun to benefit those that live around the Sahara Desert.
– Angela Hooks