Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Field Project Assessment
Improvement of hygienic and environmental conditions, Yeumbeul, Senegal

Date of
19th December 2001.
Assessment completed: 13th May 2002.
conducted by
Mr. Philippe MacClenahan, UNESCO consultant (not closely associated with the project); Mr. Alioune Kane, Director, UNESCO Chair Diplôme d’Etudes Approfonfies (DEA), Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD); Mr. Tandjia, Project Leader, Department of Hydrogeology, UCAD; Mr. Mamadou Moustapha Ndoye, DEA sociology student, UCAD.  
  1. Survey on the varying domestic uses of water in the peri-urban area of Yeumbeul: local management and optimisation strategies, Amadou Bélal Diawara, DEA report.
  2. Intervention strategies of community group and administration for the protection of the water table in Yeumbeul, Senegal, Marlin Kaspagoul, Gomis, 2000, DEA report.
  3. UNESCO 1997. Qualité de l'eau de la nappe phréatique à Yeumbeul, Sénégal, CSI Info 3, Paris, 27 pp.
Meeting with the Great Serinj of Dakar, Mr. Ndiaga Yade, City counsellor and representative of the traditional chiefdom.

Meeting with the Director of the Community Centre for Enhanced Health Technologies (CCTAS); Mr. El Hadji Cheikh Tidiane Thiam, Head Researcher and civil servant; Mr. Papa Alboury-Ndiaye, Community Director and Manager; Mr. Alioune Bianquich, Tradipractician (A tradipractician is a traditional doctor using medicinal plants.) Leader; Mr. Latyr Konte, Resident Tradipractician.

Constraints: The project leader was unable to attend the final discussion at the end of the visit. No meeting could be organised with other partners such as the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Environment and Development in the Third World (ENDA).

Field Project Assessment

The following assessment discusses the project activities to date in terms of several long-term parameters or characteristics of ‘wise practices’. 

A qualitative scale is used as follows:

None: The field project activities to date do not comply with this characteristic and/or the characteristic is not relevant to the field project.
Slightly: The field project activities to date have begun in some preliminary way to satisfy  this characteristic.
Partially: The field project activities to date have gone some significant way towards fulfilling this characteristic.
Fully: The field project activities to date fully satisfy this characteristic.  

This assessment is based only on the activities undertaken to date, and does not include those planned for the future.

Have the project activities ensured long term benefit?  


All project activities aim to improve the living and sanitary conditions of communities in the Yeumbeul area. The people have benefited from a ‘social connection’ programme that gave access to tap water to several concessions. Traditionally water is taken from groundwater wells, which are often contaminated by human wastes. These new water mains help to ensure a source of clean drinking water.

Do the project activities provide for capacity building and institutional strengthening?


The project strengthens the population’s ability to negotiate community improvements such as the ‘social connection’ water programme and the requested extension of the sewage system. While the government aims to provide ‘social connection’ to tap water, households must lie close to the water mains and the people must contribute financially. Up to 53% of connected households cannot pay their water bill and are cut off from the water supply until they pay.  

Close collaboration with the project team has helped CCTAS improve their knowledge base about water supply and environmental conditions, thereby allowing them to better focus their activities. 

Are the project activities sustainable? Partially
By contributing to the knowledge of underground water quality in the Yeumbeul area, and advising on ways to improve water quality, the project prevents further deterioration of the surrounding aquifers, which are all inter-connected in the wider Yeumbeul area. Quality controlled monitoring provides for safe water reserves now and in the future. 

The goal of CCTAS is to make the community autonomous in terms of project management and maintenance of water-related structures. Health problems are taken care of by the Centre, which provides medical care on payment of a membership fee to the association. The Centre covers up to three quarters of its own running costs.

Have the project activities been transferred?


The project activities have not yet been transferred.

Are the project activities interdisciplinary and intersectoral?


Collaboration between the University (UCAD), NGOs and community groups has developed over time. The NGOs and the University operate in the same areas, address the same populations and often deal with the same organisations (including UNESCO). Several results from this collaboration can be seen: (1) the University via the UNESCO Chair encourages students to focus on some key topics, e.g. pollution status, measurement of water table levels, prevalence of diseases caused by parasites, involving different disciplines - hydrogeology, parasitology and sociology; (2) ENDA undertakes technical initiatives such as ‘social connections’, building of waterproof latrines; (3) Community groups organise feedback meetings, and provide in-kind support, e.g. working space and equipment. 

CCTAS itself lies at the crossroad of traditional and scientific knowledge. It is co-ordinated by a scientific committee and organised in study groups, one of which focuses on water and aims to build awareness on water uses and quality. Other working groups deal with co-operation between municipalities and traditional medicinal plants. ENDA ‘Economie Populaire’ (ECOCOP) use research results from the water quality analysis by the University in the design and building of latrine projects, e.g. watertight trenches and sinks. There is mutual benefit from the collaboration.

Do the project activities incorporate participatory processes?


At the beginning of the project, the team contacted ENDA-ECOCOP, who then approached the local delegates and the local communities. These groups assisted the scientists in gaining access to the wells selected for study. Communities also participate in the field research and help organise meetings. Municipal councillors and mayors are invited to all meetings. 

Do the project activities provide for consensus building?


The population of Yeumbeul is very heterogeneous both in terms of ethnic groups and living standards. There is a problem of access to drinking water for the poorest communities, which get their water supply from traditional wells, many of which are contaminated. Wealthy house owners build septic trenches from their houses without taking into account the potential impact of leakage into nearby traditional wells. There is as yet no consensus on the sharing and wise management of water resources.

Do the project activities include an effective and efficient communication process?


In collaboration with community groups and local government districts, the research team and ENDA-ECOCOP have organised a series of regular meetings with the population. During these meetings, the team shares results of the water quality analysis and receives feedback from the community groups. The population thus becomes aware of its own role in the degradation of water quality and the environment at large and how it can remedy the situation. However, many community groups do not collaborate among themselves. 

Are the project activities culturally respectful?


The research team and students respect and follow local customs and behaviour, e.g. during this assessment, a courtesy visit was made to the family of Mr Yade, the Great Serinj of Dakar. The knowledge of the tradipracticians, particularly regarding medicinal plants, is critical for the financial viability of the Centre (CCTAS) which provides (sells) traditional medicine.  

Do the project activities take into account gender and/or sensitivity issues?


Young people and women play an important role in project activities, e.g. they participate in awareness-building, and assist in the provision of small equipment, e.g. carts, to carry away wastes from one concession to another when the narrow streets are inaccessible to vehicles. Women also play a role in the packaging of medicinal plants.

Do the project activities strengthen local identities?


Strengthening the role of tradipracticians and incorporating their knowledge into modern medical practice helps to re-enforce local identities.

Do the project activities shape national legal policy?


The project team works directly with the local municipality representatives, who, as a result of decentralisation, are fully responsible for environmental issues. There are no indications, however, that the activities shape national legal policy.

Do the project activities encompass the regional dimension?


The regional dimension, beyond Senegal itself, is not a part of this project. The only regional dimension is within the country and is associated with the provision of medicinal plants, some of which come from a plantation in East Senegal owned by CCTAS.

Do the project activities provide for human rights?


The project activities, by improving water quality and the population’s health, conform to Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [1].   

Have the project activities been documented?


The project activities have been fully documented, see list of documents at the beginning of this assessment.

Have the project activities been evaluated?


This is the first evaluation.  

[1] Article 25.1:Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.’.

Synthesis of main issues from the assessment 

  1. Further work needs to be undertaken, so that all members of the population, both rich and poor, fully understand the problems relating to pollution, contamination of the water supply and resulting health problems, and therefore the need to share and wisely manage water resources.

Revised future project activities   

  1. Work started at the end of 2001 to repeat the chemical and bacteriological studies in order to find out if there has been any improvement in the environmental and human health conditions since the construction of the wells and sanitation facilities. If there is an improvement, this will provide further important justification for the sharing and wise management of water resources.

  2. Formalise the collaboration between UCAD and CCTAS to ensure continuous involvement with other stakeholders.

  3. With the assistance of a coordinator and a working group, improve the management of UCAD activities.

  4. Conduct further research, including a PhD Thesis in sociology (by Mr. Mamadou Moustapha Ndoye), and a postgraduate diploma (DEA) in collaboration with Mr. Yemou Dieng of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Medicine.

  5. Transfer some of the lessons learnt, e.g. the collaborative approach to other parts of the peri-urban area of Dakar, the experience of developing and managing a pharmaceutical garden to other health centres in Senegal.


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Wise Practices Regions Themes