Great Green Wall

People travel many hours to stock up on water. During the dry season many herders migrate southwards in order to find grasslands for their cattle.
Sergeant El Hadj Goudiaby, commissioned by the National Office for Waters and Forests, coordinates the reforestation in Mbar Toubab. The first rain was meant to arrive in June, but by mid-August still not a single drop had fallen.
The initiative's main goal consists in improving living conditions, Goudiaby states. He works closely together with the community in order to develop methods for adapting to the immediate consequences of climate change.
Goudiaby's records leave no doubt about the rainfall rates decreasing year by year. From 674 mm in 2010, the amount of rain dropped to only 246mm in 2019.
No grass can grow anymore, so people are condemned to feed Baobab bark to their cattle.
Sergeant El Hadj Goudiaby instructs volunteers from all over the country, who decided to take part in a two year educational program in forestry and agriculture.
Jobs and tasks get distributed.
Student groups came to take action for their part during the planting time.
Native species of Acacia and Sisyphus, which are able to survive in the dry savanna, are getting prepared for planting after the first rainfalls.
The project‘s largest tree nursery in Widou Thiengoly counts around 75,000 saplings.
Two months late, on August 18th, the first short rain relieves the region.
As the rain was too little, planted saplings would die within a couple of days. Everybody agrees on planting seeds only for the moment.
The soil got plowed weeks ago so the water seeps in instead of evaporating in the blazing sun.
The Ministers of Youth and Environment visit Mbar Toubab. Journalists, security and ministry staff take over the the base for one afternoon.
In the school garden of Mbar Toubab, Youth Minister Néné Fatoumata Tall promotes the 'Plan for an Emerging Senegal', set out by President Macky Sall in 2014.
On school days, kids harvest their own crops and use them for cooking in the school cantine. During vacations, the garden nearly reposes.
Elementary school teacher Ibrahim Diawara looks after the garden in the meantime. He wants to convey awareness for nature and climate change to the children.
The 'Big Parcel of Widou' covers around 2,300 hectares. The plot was greened within the framework of the United Nations' program 'Action Against Desertification' in 2009.

Great Green Wall

Build a barrier of trees along 8,000 kilometers sounds ambitious.
But in fact, eleven African countries, threatened by the phantom of desertification, came together to tackle this challenge – eleven countries with different realities and thousands of people forced to let behind productive land by the absent rain.

But since capitulation is no option, the governments of Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti agreed on a master plan.
Their big goal: The Great Green Wall.

The main promoter of the initiative, that has already planted more than twelve million trees, is the Republic of Senegal. The Sahel in the country‘s deep north is a setting, where desertification can be felt and seen.

Streets are empty. Load donkeys possess the terrain. Cattle and goat herds left for better lands. Here, they have nowhere to graze anymore. Majestic Baobab trees, suffocating from termite invasions, paint an alarming picture.

Within this hostile climate, various actors develop alternatives to combat the phenomenon and improve living conditions for the local population.
This story is about a joint struggle at the front line of climatic change.