Senegal Women’s Well: Where Women Travel For Peace

Posted: May 14, 2014

A women-only travel option aims to connect women to women in Africa and help them work together to create assets for the community!

Women Travel For Peace, is a travel program for women organised by Global Action Women. The program offers adventurous women unique travel opportunities to work side-by-side with women in need in Senegal, West Africa.

In their own words,

“We believe that human interaction and sharing are at the heart of genuine travel…and that the connection among women — across all boundaries — is profound, easily felt, and universal.”

The community based tourism connects women from the industrialized world and women in the developing world to support a locally-chosen community project to improve the lives of women and children. An added quality of such a travel program is that language and culture training is included in the tour, prior to travel so that the travelers gain maximum benefit from their unique experience. 

One such project is the Senegal Women’s Well Project, whose goal is to fund and help construct a sturdy, concrete well for the women’s farming collective. Five intrepid women came to Senegal to work with local farming women. The women of this small farming collective had met months earlier and decided together that their greatest need was for a well. 

As one of the women writes,

“As our ferry approached the opposite shore of Senegal’s Soungrougrou River, the air throbbed with rhythmic drumming. Waving arms and brilliant smiles beckoned to us. The stunning village women, dressed in their dazzlingly colorful bulbous, ran to us singing and clapping as we disembarked.”

Water is scarce and therefore valued in this village, as in most of Africa. But these farming women had only a handful of hand-dug wells, spotty in their performance, which caved in during the rains, becoming unusable for 3-4 months a year. The project’s aim was to provide financing for the new concrete well, as well as some physical labor.

In rural Senegal, the women are the field labourers—and the cooks, wood-carriers, nurturers of children, and housekeepers. They’re up at dawn, off to the fields in early morning after feeding children and husband, cleaning house, and praying; and they return in the evening: 10-12 hours each day, they haul water and do back-breaking field work.

The concrete well, which finally came up, was made for 60 farming women who had struggled all their lives to farm with insufficient water provided by a few, shallow hand-dug wells.

Here is a brief mini-documentary on the project.

The Founder of Women Travel For Peace, Linda Rivero says her purpose was to:

1) Create unique travel experiences for women that finance and physically support a project chosen by and directly benefiting local women, and 2) Nurture communication among all the women. Our goal is mutual growth: learning and sharing so two disparate worlds may connect for the deep and lasting benefit of all.

The new well has a brought a significant improvement in the production and lives of 60 families, roughly 350 people, in rural Senegal. As a result of the combined contribution, the local women now have water year-round to farm their crops, and they are able to have a shorter workday. When you work 365 days a year under the African sun, a shorter workday makes a vast difference!

What do you think of such a ‘social’ tour which involves travel as well as some field work for a good cause? Do you know of any such other travel projects or have you been involved in any interesting tours which made a difference to someone’s else life? Tell us about your experience!

Pic credit: Global Action Women

I smash the patriarchy for a living! Founder & Editor-in-chief of Feminism in India.

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