The expansion pack

With its first phase coming to its official end in February, we thought we’d check in with the community of Ouled Souissi and find out what’s been happening – and what the plans are for the future of ACT’s Community Development Project (CDP) in the South.

Working with local community groups to identify needs, offer training, equipment and start sustainable income generating activities. This is what ACT is seeking to bring about through its work with the CDP. Following an initial research period, Phase I was started in 2018. The village of Ouled Souissi was selected, and over the course of the year, they’ve been busy bees.

So what has happened in Phase I?

The women’s community association – highlighted in our ‘Ladies that learn’ news –  has received training in financial and administrative management, as well as in entrepreneurial projects. An opportunity not often afforded to women in their circumstances.

Having received poultry raising training earlier in the year, three incubators – each capable of holding up to 300 eggs – were set up and are now being used. The participating women are learning how to use them effectively. After a few teething problems (due largely to the high temperatures the region experiences in the summer months) they are now on track and reaping the fruit of their hard work. Or, rather, collecting the eggs and chicks!

There have been a few monitoring visits for moringa plantations. Having provided a selection of farmers with this hearty desert-friendly plant, ACT has been following-up with these visits.

Five farmers have planted experimental fields of Moringa trees, with over all good results. The main challenges now are the harvesting of good quality products (the dried leaves) and the subsequent trade.

Several trials of underground water diffusers have been established, in order to promote the use of water efficient technology.

The men’s community association has been also created, with their focus being on managing irrigation water. Unfortunately, due to on-going delays with drilling permissions, the intended new community well has not yet been able to be dug. Hopefully authorisation will be granted soon!

A few other achievements have been reached in 2019; selected farmers or associations have received investment subsidies to help support and sustain their farms – and their families’ livelihoods.

Excitingly, several exchange visits have taken place between the associations and similar groups in the area, offering a space to share experiences, create networks and help encourage community ownership of the project. ACT is hopeful that, with the roll-out of Phase II, Ouled Souissi will themselves become a host of exchange visits, being consulted for their expertise.

Hopefully 2020 will provide further opportunities for training and visits. Both of these will bring much needed skills and valuable knowledge to the participating communities.

What's to come?

ACT is grateful for the extension which will allow Phase I – specifically the well drilling – to continue at the same time that Phase II gets underway.

Perhaps the most exciting development to get things moving has been the selection of the next village to receive the training, equipment and follow-up Ouled Souissi have benefitted from.

And the new guys aren’t wasting any time!

In Jemaïne, a committee of women has already been established. Sign-ups to the poultry training have also started. Let’s see where these ladies will go!

Having been so encouraged by the success seen in Ouled Souissi, ACT is thrilled to see the project replicated elsewhere. It’s exciting to see participants lead from within, recognising their own needs and seeking to bring transformation to their communities. We are hopeful that Phase II will give us even more to be inspired by!