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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Impoverished Regions of Dakar, Senegal

Impoverished Regions of Dakar, Senegal
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Registered: February 2007
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These litter cleanup projects in impoverished regions of Africa will be led by a group in Dakar, Senegal that have formed a cooperative partnership with the Nicodemus Wilderness Project. The name of their organization is the Youth Federation for World Peace and Moral Values-Senegal or in French (Fédération Des Jeunes Pour La Paix Mondiale et les Valeurs Morales - Section Sénégal).

The leader of this 2005 award-winning project is: Soumaoro Issa.

Background (Paraphrased from content provided by Soumaoro Issa):

The Youth Federation for World Peace and Moral Values-Senegal (Youth Federation) involves volunteers in their twenties and thirties in community service and outreach projects. Most of the volunteers are also students at the Université Cheik Anta-Diop Dakar Senegal, where the Youth Federation is located. The Youth Federation frequently holds conferences and rallies on HIV/AIDS at university campuses, local schools, and neighborhoods. Campaigns and conferences are held to sensitize youth on the issue of HIV/AIDS that has eaten up Africa like a canker worm, coupled with social and environmental issue discussions. This group hopes to repaint the ailing picture of our precious world by working together to improve environmental, social, moral, health, and ecosystem conditions. A collaborative partnership has emerged between the Youth Federation and the Nicodemus Wilderness Project with the goal of improving the environmental conditions (specifically by conducting litter cleanup projects) in impoverished regions of West Africa.

Preparation for the Cleanups (Paraphrased from content provided by Soumaoro Issa):

One area in dire need of a litter cleanup project is called Fass-Mbao, a small low-class neighborhood in Dakar, Senegal. Dakar is a peninsular city that is surrounded by the coast and numerous beaches. The effort in Fass-Mbao is going to be the first large-scale litter cleanup project in Senegal and in a French West African country. A meeting was held on the Fass-Mbao Cleanup and the cleanup project in collaboration with Nicodemus Wilderness Project was a very big debate. However, the center of debate was '' Why only Fass-Mbao? Why not HLM also?" This is because the majority of our volunteers are from HLM, another village area of Dakar that is in great need of a litter cleanup. We have now come to realize that we should spend 4 days for the cleaning of Fass-Mbao and another 4 days for HLM. The meeting was very exciting and, as a matter of fact, people are very interested and are ready to cooperate with the Nicodemus Wilderness Project on a long-term basis. It also should be possible to extend these activities to neighboring countries like: Mali, Burkinafasso, Niger, etc because we have some students here from those countries. We have 300 volunteers ready for the project but we have decided to share them in two different groups so that it will be well organized and so there are 150 for Fass-Mbao and 150 for HLM. However, at the end of the various cleanups, the two group will come together and we shall conduct a rally of "Peace in a Clean Environment" that will take us around Dakar, Senegal displaying arm-bands, fliers, and posters-boards to preach peace and environmental cleanliness. This will conclude the first phase of our project. We also made a trip to Fass-Mbao for a courtesy visit of the area and we met with some of the inhabitants and also with the local chief of the area. We exposed our cleanup plans to him and everybody was happy. We are now waiting anxiously to begin the cleanup project. The chief invited us to witness a traditional dance ceremony that was going on there and we finished the day by drawing up a plan prioritized the various zones to be cleaned. Conditions are extremely poor; the foundations of houses are covered with water, the environment is very dirty, fungus, worms, and mosquitoes occupy areas around the houses. Even the pipe-born water had no way to get to the people and they cannot have clean drinking water any more. Many families have abandoned their houses and schools are deserted. What future does this leave for the youths of Fass Mbao? It was also decided that after the cleaning of these two areas, we should try and donate some trash bins to be placed in and around these areas. These bins will allow citizens to drop all their rubbish into a central location so that the sanitary department or similar social organization can haul them away. Many thanks for helping to make these projects a reality; we are now ready to carry so high the flame of light of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project. We must work together in everlasting cooperation with the Nicodemus Wilderness Project and others to bring about a sustainable development and change in Africa.

Photos: Soumaoro Issa (upper left), House of poor family (lower left), litter problems (lower right)

Project Report

Authored by Soumaoro Issa

Dates of the clean up; 15 , 16, 17 and 18 December 2005

Names of areas where the clean up was completed; Fass Mbao and HLM 4

Number of participants in the clean up; 400 participants including community leaders and children

Description of the two areas where the clean up was completed:

Fass Mbao

The local community of Fass Mbao is on the major international road connecting Senegal to other neighboring countries. Fass Mbao is just about 16 kilometers from Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. It has over 7.3 km of land area with a population of about 100 thousands inhabitants. Fass Mbao is blocked by the east with the stocked forest and by the west with the coupe road, by north with the railways and by the south with the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Fass Mbao is dominated by youths with a higher percentage of females, Fass Mbao is considered to be one of the most poorest areas of Dakar, with about 65 sub quarters and little or no sanitary conditions and only one dispensary (hospital) for over 100 thousand people. The environmental and living condition is very deplorable. There is no drainage system and no litter evacuation system; this gives a lot of trouble in the area making it stungy and dirty with flies and mosquitoes everywhere and a lot of stagnated waters,. Thus a very serious sanitation problem. The local method of living with houses very close to each other promotes sexual promiscuity and drugs and alcohol practices amongst youths in this area. Most of the youths here also are illiterate with little or no educational background; thus hygiene and sanitation is very discouraging in these areas.

HLM 4 This area has the same characteristics like Fass Mbao, with a lower population than Fass Mbao of 30,000 inhabitants. HLM 4 is also very dirty with little or no sanitary measures and no drainage systems nor litter evacuation system. Worst of all unlike Fass Mbao which is about 7 kilometers from Dakar, HLM 4 is at the heart of the Capital city Dakar, with a local mayors office, a police station and one dispensary, it is one of the densely populated subups of Dakar. There is a heavy litter problem here with a lot of sexual habits and drugs amongst youths who dominate the population here also.

Health and environmental problems in Fass Mbao and HLM 4:

In these two areas there are a lot of health problems among the population like cholera, HIV AIDS, Malaria, skin diseases etc.; all these due to the environment and population suffering from lack of educational and sanitary measures.

That is why apart from just conducting our litter clean up in these areas, the Youth Federation For World Peace also carried out sensitization amongst youths in these areas on issues like HIV AIDS prevention, Cholera, Malaria, Skin diseases, the consequences on the population and how to prevent them.

As mentioned above the environmental and living condition of these areas is very poor and devastating, with a lot of warning signs from the poor nature of hygiene and sanitation problems. The environment is very very dirty with a lot of thick litter everywhere in the streets and corners of these two areas

The population here live in a very deplorable life style, with houses so closed to each other, this promotes a lot of jealousy and early sexual habits amongst youths who do not even have the possibility of going to school, some end up in drugs and alcohol practices and there is a lot of community based banditism in these areas. The life expectancy here is too low about 35 to 45 years and the infant mortality rate very high about 85 percent due to the poor environmental conditions and lack of hygiene and sanitation measures.

The houses are unfinished or mud and half-roofed houses, with some having no doors nor windows, some of the houses are really like cow fences but unbelievably people do live inside [see the photo of the house of an old man in the earlier section: Preparations for the Cleanups]. The environment is entirely covered with flies, mosquitoes and dust everywhere, with a lot of stagnated waters and no drainage system, thus huge and thick amount of litters every street and corners.

Effects of Environmental Cleanup and Educational Efforts

The type and amount of litter that our group picked up:

In fact the litter in this areas that we picked up were made up of all sorts of nasty things and included: plastic papers, polyten bags, old rags, fermented stuffs, teens, bottles, canes, old boxes, cartons, irons, old pieces of clothes, clogs, old shoes, needles, cotton, rejected food stuffs, pieces of papers, old bags, groundnut or maize shields, woods, used blades, stungy stuffs and in fact all what not.

We started the pick up simultaneously on both areas, each day from 9 am to 2 PM and at the end of the pick up we estimated about 4 tonnes (one tonne = 1000 kg) of rubbish picked up from the two areas, precisely about 3 tonnes from Fass Mbao and 1 tonnes from HLM4.

Environmental and Health topics discuss during public lectures within the Clean up:

Within the Clean up period, our Youth organization 'The Youth Federation for World Peace ' held public lectures on three environmental and health topics.

A public lecture on CHOLERA , the causes of cholera, the consequences to the population, the methods of prevention, this lecture was given by Doctor Thiam Kone a government medical practitioner working at the Fass Mbao District Health center who is a friend and adviser to the Youth Federation for World Peace Senegal. At the end of his lecture, he distributed some educational fliers on cholera to the youths and community leaders present at this occasion.

A public lecture on HIV, AIDS, and STD , the origin of HIV AIDS and STDs, the consequences, and methods of prevention especially amongst the youth population who should be more concerned. After the lecture a 20 minute video on the havoc's of HIV AIDS AND STDs in the world was projected, this documentary was very very frightful to watch and this really helped in creating the awareness amongst the youths of these two areas, with some youths very touched at the end of the film. Some openly said they prefer to abstain from sex until marriage after seeing the havoc that HIV AIDS can caused in human body. This lecture and projection was jointly conducted by Soumaoro Issa and Mr. Mbaye Diop a specialist on HIV AIDS lectures.

A public lecture on plastic bags and polyten papers the consequences on the environment, on the drainage system, on sea and land animals, etc. this lecture was given by Soumaoro Issa including a brief explanation about the Nicodemus Wilderness Project and their everlasting partnership with the Youth Federation For World Peace. Environmental and educational fliers of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project and Youth Federation fliers were distributed to participants and the entire population.

Environmental and conservation education efforts were very successful.

So many educational fliers on environmental issues and conservation were distributed during the lectures and after the cleaning, most of the fliers came from The Nicodemus Wilderness Project in New Mexico, who are our everlasting partners on environmental and health issues in Africa. We believe the information and fliers given during the public lectures are very very important because, it does not only sensitize the youths, but also render them more responsible and active in their various communities. Some of the youths even gave impressions after the lectures saying that they were still ignorant on issues concerning HIV AIDS and method of transmittance, also they were impressed to hear of the havoc's that a dirty environment can create in our communities, like the effects of stagnant water which was a vivid example in their communities. Finally, they decided to start now and do everything possible to take care of the environmental problems in their areas themselves, while also engaged to educate the community leaders and inhabitants of their various communities. Finally some of the youths and Community leaders in our lectures and cleanup, who came from other communities other than Fass Mbao and HLM4 expressed the wish and desire to see this.

The effect of the cleanup helped eliminate stagnant water pools that breed malaria-bearing mosquitoes.

During the clean up in both Fass Mbao and HLM4 we realized that removing litter and taking away empty plastic bags and clogs in drainage, helped in freeing stagnant water, thus most of the areas that were covered with stagnant water before our cleanup, end up being liberated and thus free also from mosquitoes. The inhabitants appreciated our efforts a lot and wanted our action to remain a continuous action, some even say because of our cleanup the waters have disappeared and the amount of mosquitoes is very reduced. As mentioned more than 400 participants took part in the litter cleanup campaign, including children and community leaders, the litter cleanup on the two area: Fass Mbao and HLM4 started simultaneously each day from 8 AM to 3 PM locale time during three days and one full morning for lectures, and distribution of educational fliers from 9 am to 1:30 PM in the after noon we brought both groups together for a very big rally with over 300 participants, carrying fliers, banners, sign boards, banderoles, with messages for peace in a clean environment on them, singing and marching along the streets of the community to pass forward their message to the community, these messages included sensitization for a peaceful world, for a clean environment and for health issues like Cholera and HIV AIDS ( see photos below)

A very successful Environmental Rally also took place on the last day to end up the two cleanup campaigns.

During the 4 days clean up campaign, we did not only organize public lectures but also we concluded our campaign with a very big Environmental Rally to conclude our project, in fact the rally was aimed at giving the population awareness on environmental problems, such as Cholera, Malaria, skin diseases and HIV AIDS. (See photos below) Youths were marching and singing to pass forward their sensitization messages.

It was more than a cleanup meeting; it was a warmth atmosphere amongst youths. Boldly written on boards and banners including banderoles that the youths carried during the rally, you could read messages as:









etc etc.*

The community leaders and youths, including women and children were very happy and impressed of our action and called upon us to repeat this action time again to continuously create awareness amongst the population. The locale chief of Fass Mbao after coming out from his house to have a look at the streets and corners of his area exclaimed 'OH GOD I CAN RESPIRATE GOOD FRESH AIR NOW, IT SEEMS AS IF I AM SOME WHERE ELSE NOT IN FASS MBAO. GOD BLESSED THESE YOUTHS FOR ME.' In fact when you take a look on photos far above before the cleaning and the following photos below which were took after the cleaning, the difference is clear and this can clearly explain our feelings after we organized our own clean up campaign, which was a very very self rewarding action, we feel so proud to have successfully do this in our own community, and we thank the Nicodemus Wilderness Project for their morale, educational and material support.

Please we lack words to explain what we feel after this clean up, kindly take a look on the photos of the environment after the cleanup below, and you yourself you are going to be impressed.

How can we reduce the litter problems on these two areas and render our action a lasting value?

Community leaders and children can be very important. As a matter of fact we believe that to reduce the litter problem in these areas and the rest of other communities in Senegal and West Africa, we need to continuously educate and sensitize youths in these areas. Education is the key to every success. There is a litter problem because of ignorance among the population, people do not know the dangers of heavy litters to the environment and to their health. We must establish an environmental educational training method for the population in the communities, educate the youths and community leaders here, so that that can be aware of the dangers, then educate them our to get rid of litters, train them so that they can continuously create the same awareness in their community. We think we have to select from each community that we held this litter cleanup, a certain number of youths disposable, make a training program for them, educate them then after, on these communities, we need to offer a thousand dust bins each to the two communities, go there place them at the corners and streets of the community, the youths from here who got the training will go around sensitize the population here that, when they have domestic waste and litter, they should drop them directly into the nearest big public dust bin in their area, then these youths will always go around to verify the bins, once they are full, they will have to go to the mayor's office ask for a bin truck, and evacuate the litter immediately, so the bins should always be prepare to receive litters and other domestic waste. This should be a rotation process and community leaders will assist the youths to sensitize the population to be dropping their litters and waste directly into the public bins provided by goodwill organizations or individual through Nicodemus Wilderness Project and network for good. By so doing the children will grow up in this procedure and will automatically carry forward this process and the environment will always be clean. We will also have to distribute impregnated mosquito nets to the population and other environmental materials to help keep the environment clean and thus keep the population healthy, by this we believe our cleanup will have a lasting value and the litter problem will definitively be handled.

We think it is important to take care of these two areas where we held our clean ups.

The reason behind this is that these two areas as mentioned in the introduction are very important areas in Senegal, with a lot of population who live in very poor conditions, the daily income per person in this area is less than 1 dollar a day, and these areas as you could see above in the description of the areas are at the core of the capital city of Senegal (Dakar) with very poor environmental condition and heavy litter problem, it does not give a good image of this country which attracts a lot of tourist from around the globe. The major industry of this country is the tourist industry, and the environment and the living condition of the population is a major nut to swallow, so we believe these two areas should be taken care of because, like Fass Mbao it is on the only international highway connecting Dakar to other major countries of the sub region, and the famous PARIS DAKAR RALLY always drive past through these two areas.

The benefits of this project are many and very important.

The main benefit of this project is the population, the population is completely abandoned to himself, with government doing little or no effort to get rid of litter, even the community vans that usually go around collecting garbage is technically damaged and no system of taking away garbage is on place in these two areas now, there is also little or no drainage system thus you can find a lot of stagnant water, our project help alleviate these problems, and gives a very big hope for the future to this population and inhabitants of these areas. The environmental condition will be highly improved after our project, the community will be free from illness like cholera and malaria and other skin diseases due to a devastating environment. Our educational aspect end training part of the project including the lectures on health issues like HIV AIDS, Malaria, Cholera AND Skin diseases have a lot of impact in the community and the awareness sprit we are creating is important for this community .so we are very sure that if this project is render a long lasting one, it is going to be very very important for these community and the rest of the population.

Our feelings about the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative after haven completed our project are very vast and impressive.

We thank this initiative, and we thank the Nicodemus Wilderness Project for this initiative which is very rewarding and helpful to the whole world, we believe that if we follow this initiative and expand it world wide especially in Africa, we are going to heal the wounds of the world with this initiative. We are very grateful for this initiative because this initiative does not only give us fish, but teaches us how to fish ourselves. After successfully conducting our cleanup we came to realized that the initiator of this initiative has taken a good move to heal the environment especially on litter issues that is a heavy nut to swallow in many African communities. We will like to expand this action all through other communities and nations around west Africa and the whole of Africa if possible, because this is a solution for the whole world not only for one community. We are proud of ourselves for having completed our own environmental cleanup campaign in Senegal.
Date: March 16, 2007 Views: 15024 File size: 31.9kb, 84.0kb : 588 x 435
Hours Volunteered: 2000
Volunteers: 400
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14 to 40
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 57
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 4000
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