In Senegal, a man has created an organization with a pledge to plant 5 million trees in Senegal in the next five years to combat deforestation and return his country’s forests to their former glory. Adama Diémé, 48 years old, has used more than $5,000 of his own money to help fund the project and return the country to its former brilliance. The project, named “Ununukolaal,” translates in his native language to “Our Trees” and has been making consistent progress since its founding three years ago.
How Ununukolaal Operates
Casamance, the region of Senegal where Ununukolaal has been mainly operating, suffers from the vast effects of deforestation in order to clear up space for new buildings and structures, BBC reports. While planting 5 million trees can be a daunting challenge, Diémé has made the goal regardless, working with partner Yolanda Pereñiguez to reach the objective and spending more than $5,000 in his own money in order to keep Ununukolaal moving towards its goal. Pereñiguez has also been raising efforts to raise funds for Ununukolaal. Having a job as a tailor, Pereñiguez has designed and created a shirt that sells internationally for $15. With each shirt sale, 15 tree seedlings can go towards the mission of planting 5 million.
Ununukolaal’s Fight Against Poverty
Diémé’s project has also led to the creation of a multitude of jobs for workers who otherwise would not have a job. Ununukolaal has employed dozens of female workers in pursuit of its mission, allowing them to simultaneously become farmers in their own rights and sell the foods that their farms produce. This has led to those workers becoming more secure in terms of both finance and food, allowing families to slowly get up on their feet and women to become more self-sufficient.
More than 39% of people in Senegal are currently living below the poverty line, with 75% of families suffering from poverty. With a stark amount of poverty-stricken families found in the rural parts of Senegal, such as Casamance, an opportunity for agricultural growth is a large help towards alleviating poverty for Senegalese people. What further highlights this is the fact that these rural areas depend on agriculture for a large portion of their funding and have been recently suffering due to a lack of quality fertilizers, seeds and other farming materials. The good that Diémé and Pereñiguez are doing with Ununukolaal is beginning to uplift communities and save the local environment.
The Trees that Ununukolaal Planted in Senegal
Ununukolaal is planting more than 12 different types of trees in Casamance, all dependent on what type of produce specific villages in Casamance may need or what type of tree would work best on differing types of soil. It has already planted more than 100,000 seedlings. One type of tree sapling in particular, the baobab tree, is being planted along the shorelines of villages to prevent the water from rising and destroying homes and livelihoods in rural Senegal, BBC reports. One can use these baobab trees for a multitude of other things, such as food, building materials and fuel and timber.
However, the planting of other seedlings has benefits as well. Some fruit trees, such as tamarind and lemon, produce fruit that is healthy and one can sell it to many different markets. They can also reduce the effects of stormwater runoff and potentially prevent flooding.
Ununukolaal is a long way from achieving its goal of planting 5 million trees in Senegal, however, it is making steady progress and is helping to simultaneously prevent poverty and save the environment as a result.
– Kenndall Wallace