Daniel Varadi of sustainable organic agriculture consultants, Greendots, explains how, with the help of Send a Cow's knowledge sharing, his NGO helped establish over 5,000 keyhole gardens in Bangladesh, Niger and Burkina Faso.

A few years ago, I came across an article on the BBC news website, mentioning the Keyhole Gardens of Lesotho. I immediately liked this concept and started to research it. Of course, I quickly ended up on Send a Cow's website, which I contacted to see how we could work together. 

After a few months of chewing on it, I decided to create a small association in Switzerland called Greendots. We dedicated it to "food autonomy", in a simple, homestead-based way. My idea was to start spreading the Keyhole Garden idea, along with other organic gardening techniques, in (mainly) French speaking West Africa.

In 2010, we started our first project with ten villages in Niger, 60km from Niamey. At I write this, we are working with four villages in Burkina Faso. This short video shows how the Keyhole Garden helps women to prepare their everyday family meals. 


The major work we did to spread the keyhole garden idea was undertaken between 2011-2012. Working with farmers, we adapted the keyhole gardens to make them able to withstand the floods and saline tidal surges of Bangladesh. We simply imitated local people and built the gardens on clay platforms, the same way the locals do with their houses to keep them from flooding.

We worked in partnership with another Swiss NGO, and now more than 5,000 keyhole gardens have been built in Bangladesh.