In Mali, rains are scarce, and droughts that repeatedly hit the Sahel region of Africa work against the main source of income for many families – rain fed crops.
In such a situation, Oumou Coulibaly, 37, a mother of five children, as well as several women in her community of Nonsombougou, Mali, have to seek other work to support their families.
At first, Oumou tried washing clothes in the homes of wealthier people in her community, but work became scarce because other women were doing the same thing.
Together with other women in the village, she decided to grow vegetables. They sought World Vision’s support in finding solutions to the challenges they faced – developing vegetable farming skills and finding water for irrigation.
"We are 32 women who work here. When we started this garden, it was difficult because there was no water and the land is barren. We were able to collect 150,000 FCFA (300 US dollars) to dig a well and World Vision supported us with a pump, and in spite of that it was always difficult to work the garden because the water is still not enough," explained Oumou.
In 2010, World Vision fenced the garden and installed a solar irrigation system with a water tower and basins, making the women’s work much easier with constant water availability. The garden has become greener and more interesting with crop productions that go beyond consumption, and the women are now able to sell the excess vegetables at the market.
With the water flowing constantly, Oumou and her fellow gardeners devoted themselves to working in the garden, and World Vision continued to support them with training on gardening techniques and the use of fertilisers and making of manure to help them maximize their production.
"Since I started growing vegetables, our worries about getting food come to an end and we get to meet our needs in clothes, purchase of medicines and also school supplies for our children," says Oumou.
The theme of World Water Day 2014, on March 22, is water and energy. This story is just one way in which World Vision works with communities to co-create solutions that will last – making communities stronger and more resilient. We believe every child deserves clean water.