Solar pump boosts yields of women’s co-operative
The community of Mboumba is located on the Senegal river. Thanks to its water, farmers can irrigate their fields and harvest up to three crops a year. In Mboumba, more than 500 women have joined together in the NAFOORE Group and jointly cultivate ten hectares of land on which they grow vegetables. Until now, they have irrigated their fields with a diesel pump. They have to spend up to 450 euros per month on fuel, which reduces their income and pollutes the environment. At the same time, the money is just not available to make their cultivation more climate-resilient. A solar pump can offer a cost-effective and climate-friendly alternative here.
This is why the non-governmental organisation, Le Partenariat (The Partnership – LP), together with the Saint-Louis Regional Development Agency (Agence Régionale de Développement de Saint-Louis – ARD), wants to enable the women’s group to purchase a solar pump and then train them in its use. This will not only reduce the cost of irrigation by up to 80 percent, but also double yields and, by switching to solar energy, increase the women’s group’s resilience to climate-change risks.
Based in Saint-Louis, Senegal, LP has been supporting local administrations, promoting (economic) actors in rural areas, and strengthening decentralised structures for over 40 years. For the project, LP is collaborating with ARD and the international NGO, Geres. LP and ARD will accompany the municipality throughout the project phase, including training the women. Geres, in turn, will support the women in the technical management of the platform and in the development of their business model.
To implement the project, the partners, together with the women’s co-operative and the municipality of Mboumba, have set-up a technical committee to decide on all the necessary measures. In an initial step, the partners analysed the future energy demand and used it to determine the size of the system for the solar pump, including solar modules, whose output must be 13 kW.
In the second step, the 13 kW pump is to be installed. The women’s group will conclude a maintenance contract with the supplying company, which the municipality will co-sign.
The third step is aimed at the sustainable operation of the measure. Over a period of six months, a technician will collect operational data and evaluate it, together with Geres and ARD, in order to optimise the operation of the solar pump. In addition, 50 women in the co-operative will be trained in the operation and maintenance of the solar pump, as well as in financial management issues, so that the co-operative can also operate well.
Based on the foundation, which consists of social elements in the form of the technical committee; technical elements in the form of the maintenance contract with the supplying company; and economic elements in the form of the operation of the plant, a good foundation for a lasting solution for the improvement of the women’s group’s living conditions should be able to be achieved.