The La Saisonnière association in Ouagadoudou works to guarantee the economic and social rights of Bukinabé women. The Nongr-Maasom community garden, on the outskirts of the city, is tended by around 50 women with very large families. A small section of the garden is also used as an open-air classroom, where around 300 children aged between 10 and 15 are taught the principles of sustainable agriculture.
Every woman chooses what to grow in her own part of the garden, following the rhythms of the seasons and respecting the principles of crop rotation. Plants being grown include okra, niebé (a legume whose seeds and leaves are used to flavor soups), moringa, sweet potatoes and papayas. In one corner of the garden, the association runs a nursery where baobab seeds are reproduced. The leaves and fruits of this tree are rich in vitamin C, iron and calcium. They are processed and sold to promote their local consumption. The women also use the fruit to prepare delicious cookies. Another tree found in the garden is neré (Parkia biglobosa), whose seeds are used to season sauces.
The association does not allow the use of chemical fertilizers. However, they were used in the past, and now the women are trying to use natural fertilizers, compost and manure to restore the soil’s equilibrium. Natural remedies, like ground neem seeds or papaya leaf infusions, are used to protect the crops from parasites.
The Saisonnière women plan to buy an electric water pump and to dig deeper wells, to ensure that the garden can be irrigated year-round.
After they have produced enough for their families, the women sell their surplus harvest at the nearby market or from the small kiosk in the garden. In facts a little restaurant has been realised: here you can seat at a simple table tasting stuffed cherry-tomatoes, sweet potatoes and mutton sausages, as well as different kind of cooked vegetables. You can reserve your table at La Saisonnière: 10 BP 13724 Ouagadougou 10; phone +226 70 26 84 17.
Nongr-Maasom, Ouagadougou department, Kadiogo region, Centre region