Nicole Dewing and Mamadou Sarr: Co-Founders of Taaru Askan
When Nicole and Mamadou founded Taaru Askan, they saw their farm as a place where they could grow their own organic vegetables and re-introduce traditional fruit trees that were rapidly disappearing from the region. Spending weekends away from the busy and noisy metropolis Dakar (the capital of Senegal), Taaru Askan Farm was a place of refuge and peace.
As an American from Vermont, a small rural state in the USA, Nicole has always preferred rural life and aspired to live on a farm. She never imagined it would be in West Africa! Mamadou -who is from the Sereer ethnic group, who are known as being the predominant farmers of Senegal’s Petite Côte region- grew up cultivating his father's land and helping provide for the nutritional needs of his large, extended family. Both Nicole and Mamdou thus channeled their passion for agriculture and sustainable development into building Taaru Askan Farm into a special place that they now see as home. While both Mamadou and Nicole work full time jobs during the week in Dakar, their hearts -and weekend jobs!- are at the farm. As Taaru Askan grows, Nicole and Mamadou are expanding the reach of their farm to help develop Senegal’s organic movement. In this sense, they are collaborating and creating new partnerships with a variety of local actors -including universities, NGOs, and small-holder organic farmers- to create and promote a development model for ecological practices in bio-diversity, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and forestry in Senegal.
"Kaba" Mamadou Diallo: Assistant Farm Manager
Kaba grew up in the Pita Region of Guinea. He came to Senegal to find work to help support his family. Kaba first began working in one of Mamadou’s other farming projects, living in a small one-room thatched hut. We brought him to Taaru Askan farm over four years ago, and it was a great decision. Kaba quickly proved himself capable and we recently promoted him to assistant Farm manager. He is a hard-worker and always has a pleasant demeanor and a warm smile on his face. He is a favorite among the volunteers and as such he has friends all over the world waiting for him to visit.
Seynabou Camara: Intern
Seynabou came to Taara Askan after completing the Youth and Exchange Study (YES) U.S State Department funded program that Nicole used to manage. Seynabou spent a year in Georgia, USA where she attended high school.
She is currently studying at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, and works part-time with Taaru Askan as an intern. In this role, she assists with finances, administration, and logistics. She is a lovely young lady who volunteers on numerous community projects and is the perfect person for this internship.
Bouna Ndiaye ~ Programs Manager
Bouna a former YALI fellow and CorpsAfrica volunteer works at the Dakar Office managing the CSA program, the American Store deliveries and marketing and partner relationships. Bouna brings a lot of energy to Taaru Askan and we are pleased he decided to join our team. In his role as Programs Manager, Bouna is working to develop several of Taaru Askan Farm’s outreach programs, assist with fundraising, create new markets for our organic produce and develop training programs -for university students and smallholder farmers- in agro-ecological principles.
Jean Marie Sambou - Farm Manager -
Jean Marie returned to Taaru Askan after working with the team in 2016. Bringing with him a vast experience already on how the Farm operates, he also worked for a NGO in the Casamance managing and training womens' group in organic farming techniques. We are please that Jean Marie has once again joined us and is ready to bring Taaru Askan to its next level.
Idy came to Taaru Askan from Mali . He brings with him a strong desire to work the land and find a better life where he can excel in agriculture. He is always smiling and his positive attitude is contagious. He has a great love for animals and cares for them with an attentive hand.
Ibrahima Mané ~ Farm Hand ~
Young, energetic and full of good energy, Mané brings a lot of joy to the Farm. While working with Taaru Askan he is studying to take his Bac exam in order to further his education. A semi-professional rapper, you will often find him signing while he works.
Dr. Mamadou Ndiaye: Technical Advisor/Consultant
Dr. Ndiaye is a trained agronomist, researcher-consultant, teacher, trainer of technicians, producers and supervisor of undergraduate, masters and doctorates students in Agronomy / Phytotechnology. He works with Taaru Askan as a technical advisor to the staff. He loves everything that is a green vegetable! What impresses him most about Taaru Askan is the original biodiversity approach and organic production with high added value and that the Farm sells within the local markets. We are fortunate to have Dr. Ndiaye as part of our team!
Awa Diouf: Cook and Logistical Assistant
Awa has been working at Taaru Askan since 2014. She is best known for her wonderful sense of humor and the great meals she makes for the farm staff and volunteers. In addition to her work cooking for farm staff, Awa helps keep the farm organized and clean, which is an extremely important task. She considers the farm as her second home, and we’re thrilled to have her as part of our Taaru Askan family.
Aita Mbaye: Intern
Aita also began working with Taaru Askan after taking part in the YES Program where she lived with a host family in Ohio and took courses at a US high school. She earned a Bachelors degree in computer science at ISI (Institut Superieur d'Informatique), and is currently completing a part-time internship to help Taaru Askan build its website.
Omar Niang: Senior Technician and Consultant
Omar recently received his masters degree in sustainable agriculture from the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar. A natural teacher who loves sharing his passion for ecology and sustainable development with all he comes into contact, Omar consults with Taaru Askan to develop its cultural exchange and study abroad program. and helps the farm follow best practices in organic farming methods. We are happy to have him join our team.
Samba Sene: Maintenance and Buildings Manager
Samba lives in nearby Joal, and has been working with the Taaru Askan team for a long time. He has managed the construction of most of the buildings on the farm property. As a Baye Fall -which is a member of a Muslim brotherhood in Senegal- he values hospitality, solidarity, and family. For him, Taaru Askan embodies these same values, which has in part motivated his collaboration with the farm. Samba is also teaching his children how to construct buildings and manage infrastructure projects, in the hopes that they will eventually take over his construction business when he retires.
Theodore Felix Ngom: Artist in Residence
Theo has more than 22 years of experience as an artist, and has been working with Taaru Askan since its inception. All of the decorations and paintings on the farm are Theo’s work, and Theo also designed Taaru Askan’s logo. Theo lives in nearby town of Joal Fadiouth, and loves visiting Taaru Askan because of the peacefulness and inspiration that the farm provides.