Counterpart International celebrated the launch of our new Feed the Future initiative, the USAID/Yaajeende Agriculture and Nutrition Development Program in Dakar, Senegal this past week. This five-year program is led by NCBA-CLUSA, with Counterpart implementing the nutrition component. The program takes an integrated approach to food security through agriculture, livestock, agro-industry, nutrition and governance interventions in 60 rural communities in four regions of Senegal.

Attendees were invited to walk through an open air market that featured fruits, vegetable, nuts, pulses and grains grown in Senegal as well as locally processed products, farming innovations and equipment. The crowd enjoyed theatrical presentations by local actors groups, which included a demonstration of Yaajeende’s potential impact through a series of comedic sketches.

Pape Sene, Chief of Party for the Yaajeende Program, Kevin Mullally, USAID Mission Director and Madame Maimonna Lo Gueye, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, addressed the crowd and spoke of their excitement for this program.

Launch attendees were treated to a buffet of local delicacies, all made with local produce – corn, millet, sorgum, sweet potatos, peanuts, fish, honey and cowpeas. Local fruit juices were also available, like Made, hibiscus, Soump, baobab fruit, mango and Jujube. The event was capped off by lively music from the Brothers Guisse, who entertained the crowd with renditions of their most popular songs as well as the Yaajeende song, composed especially for the event.

The Yaajeende Program, which is projected to reach one million Senegalese, aims to increase revenues in agricultural homes by 250 percent, reduce stunting by 25 percent and reduce the number of children underweight by 35 percent. The program focuses on intensification of agriculture production, enhancement of agro-food links, promotion of good nutrition and enhancement of governance linked to food security. Heifer International, Manobi and Sheladia Associates are also consortium members.