Trust, an essential ingredient for transformation: The case of a Baleyo planter

At first, Coulibaly Vaoyegue, a committed palm planter, was skeptical about working with Rurality. “We are used to seeing people from NGOs come and go,” he explains. This is a common hurdle for Rurality staff to overcome, so building trust is essential before being able to undertake any transformation work.

Over time, the Rurality team stayed at his home in Baleyo, in the department of Soubré, Ivory Coast. They ate with him and went to the field with him. Eventually trust began to grow. This made it possible to move towards the transformation process.

During the diagnostic phase, where Rurality questions and observes farmers to understand how they work and live, he claimed to have two hectares of palm plantation. He estimated that he had around 280 plants on the plantation.

To maintain his crops Coulibaly spent 25 000 FCFA (around US$45) per hectare for contractors to weed his land. This came to a total of 100, 000 FCFA (around US$179) per year, as the contractors came twice a year.

At first Coulibaly Vaoyegue was hesistant to work with Rurality, but after trust was built, he began encouraging his neighbours to take part.
At first Coulibaly Vaoyegue was hesistant to work with Rurality, but after trust was built, he began encouraging his neighbours to take part.

Rurality mapped out Coulibaly’s plot, trained him to recognise a productive plant and how to accurately count them. It turned out that he had 1.1 hectares of land instead of two and 200 productive plants, not 280.

The mapping of his land helped him save 50,000 FCFA (around US$90) per year. In addition, TFT supports a group of planters in Baleyo by providing them with productive seedlings from improved seeds. Coulibaly happens to belong to this group and will soon replace his unproductive plants with these new nursery plants.

By taking part in Rurality’s programme, Coulibaly managed to reduce the maintenance costs of his palm plantation and will eventually see a growth in his income when these plants eventually bear fruit.

With this success in his palm plantation, Rurality and TFT’s credibility has grown in his eyes and he now mobilises people from his community when there are Rurality-led activities in Baleyo. All of this would not have been possible without trust, which is an essential ingredient for all transformation.

Find out more about Rurality’s work in Soubré.