Here is the incredible story of a man who managed to stop the desert with an ancient technique.
There are heroes who act silently, without getting too much publicity or without posting spectacular selfies on social media. One of these was certainly Yacouba Sawadogo, a brilliant and innovative African farmer who in the last 30 years has revived ancient reforestation techniques in the Sahel desert area.
The man has managed to achieve extraordinary results using only a shovel and the firm belief that everything can be changed for the better if you really want to.
All the vegetation present in the Sahel region of Africa had disappeared in the 1980s, with a reduction in rainfall of over 80%. Many locals had to leave their land to survive.
Yacouba, however, decided to stay and try to do something for his land. Being illiterate and devoid of machinery, he addressed the problem using an ancient African cultivation system called zai: the seeds are placed in small holes filled with fertilizer which fill with water during the rainy season, conserving moisture.
The efforts of Yacouba eventually paid off, with the rebirth of vegetation on those lands. Sorghum and millet crops have also started to spread again. The story was also told a few years ago in a documentary and today the old zai technique is current again, even taught in schools in those regions. In short, never underestimate the wisdom of the ancients!