Seed Programs International (SPI) Board of Directors member, Ton Van Der Velden, had an opportunity to travel to Senegal, Uganda, and Kenya in March to represent SPI. While there, he attended the African Seed Trade Association conference in Dakar and visited several of our program partners. He had a great time visiting with everyone and we are grateful for his time and effort in advancing our program goals and mission at SPI.
His first stop was to Senegal, where he visited Taaru Askan Farms. This year marks our third year of partnering with Taaru Askan and Tostan International for our Garden Income Brings Social and Economic Empowerment to Senegalese Women program. Last year, 14 women from 3 villages participated in the Training of Trainer (ToT) program on regenerative, sustainable agriculture at the Taaru Askan Farm Site. These 14 women then trained 114 individuals in their villages; 111 women and 3 young men. While there, Ton visited the 3 villages with the program founder, Nicole Dewing and her husband Mamadou SARR. The women in the villages were in high spirits and were harvesting tomatoes, cabbage, and leaf crops with much enthusiasm. Support for the program was felt within the communities and the village elders and Imams all hold very favorable views of the program. Ton also visited with the trainer for the program, Jean-Pierre, who leads the ToT training program and biweekly extension visits to the villages. We are excited to continue this program for a third year.
While in Senegal, Ton also attended the African Seed Trade Association conference, where he met with several seed companies and development organizations to learn more about their operations, seed supplies, and programs. We aim to continue to grow these relationships as we work with our partner organizations to build sustainable and resilient agricultural practices within the communities we support. By creating a network of partners composed of both implementing organizations and seed companies, we hope to create a feedback loop that strengthens innovation and improves food security for families and smallholder farmers.
Stay Tuned for additional blog posts about Ton’s visit to Africa! If you would like to support our programs, please visit our Donation page: https://seedprograms.org/donate-now/ or visit our Ways to Support SPI page to learn about other opportunities: https://seedprograms.org/ways-to-support-spi/.