“In our village we grow onions, artichokes and tomatoes,” says Yawakanda. “Our peppers are even exported to Europe! In early July much rain fell, far more than normal. The river kept getting higher and higher. It even reached our village walls. This had never happened before.”

Yawakanda is a farmer from the Dogon Plateau,k nown for its rich culture and beautiful landscape. Houses made of natural stone and plastered with clay sit perched on the edge of the plateau. Scant rainfall and thin soil make farms in the district dependent on dams, wells, and reservoirs. In July, 2007 a flood destroyed these water catchments. The Dogon has since become one of the most food insecure districts.

The World Renew has initiated a project that plans to return the farming infrastructure to its pre-flood condition in time for the rainy season. The project will repair two dams, reconstruct 596 wells, and rebuild 211 hectares of garden plots.

Besides these long term goals, the project will also provide the Dogon community with a short term supply of food stuffs.  Food will be given as payment-in-kind to project labourers. Around 2,000 labourers will be selected from the community; each will be paid enough food to feed their families. Households that have special needs and cannot work will receive food for free.

Though the World Renew will provide food and building supplies, it is the local communities who are in charge of completing the work within the four month timeframe. Dogon leaders will distribute the workload according to both the physical ability of each participant and the labourers’ responsibilities to their harvest crops.

Looking ahead, reports of the coming harvest are optimistic, giving hope to Yawakanda and his community.