Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
colbartn.gif (4535 octets)

 Summary of Field Projects in Senegal
Sustaining human and environmental health in coastal communities and a biosphere reserve, Senegal

Revision date: 15th May, 2002.
Title:  Sustaining human and environmental health in coastal communities and a biosphere reserve, Senegal
Goals: To improve the quality of life, including water quality, for coastal populations; to assist local populations manage their coastal resources on a sustainable basis; to preserve the cultural identity and biological diversity of local villages; to provide students associated with the UNESCO Chair, at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, the opportunity for applied research.
Location: Several sites in Senegal: Saloum Delta, coastal villages of Yeumbeul and Yoff, Lesser Senegal Coast (Hann to the Gambia border), Greater Senegal Coast (Saint Louis to Dakar).
Starting dates: Saloum Delta: 1987, revised in 1996, and further focused in 2001; Yeumbeul: 1996-1999, restarted 2001; Yoff: 1996; Lesser Senegal Coast: 2001, Greater Senegal Coast 2001.
Partners: Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD): UNESCO Chair at the Department of Geography, Geomatic Teaching and Research Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Stomatology, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques; Oceanographical Research Centre of Dakar-Thiaroye; Environment and Development in the Third World - Popular Economy (ENDA-ECOPOP); Community Centre for Enhanced Health Technologies (CCTAS); other non-governmental organizations and local associations; Research Institute for Development (IRD), France; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): Dakar Office, Sector for Social and Human Sciences with the Management of Social Transformation (MOST) intergovernmental programme, Natural Sciences Sector with the Coastal Marine programme (COMAR) up to 1995 and the Coasts and Small Islands (CSI) platform since 1996.
Description: Several different projects have been conducted in Senegal, each with a different leader and the support of several agencies and organisations.  The UNESCO Chair and its students at UCAD, have taken part in all of these projects, which have provided them with the opportunity for applied research.  The projects are described below.
Conservation and restoration of the mangrove swamp ecosystem at the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve, Sénégal (1987-2002, ongoing)
Project leader:

Dr. N. Diallo (since July 2001), Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, B.P.5346, Dakar-Fann, Sénégal. 
Tel: 221 639 61 59
e-mail: ndiallo@ucad.sn

Description: This project seeks to work with the local communities and associations to conserve and restore the mangrove swamp ecosystems in the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve.  In 1984, the site was classified as a Ramsar site (it was included on the List of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention of 1975). However, climatic and anthropogenic factors are resulting in the degradation of the mangrove ecosystem. Studies of the geomorphology, hydrology and ecology of the area have been conducted with UNESCO-COMAR support since 1987, and with UNESCO-CSI support since 1996 when socio-economic components were  added.  The project involves research and restoration of the coastal ecosystems, in particular mangrove reforestation; raising awareness about the cultural importance of archaeological shell midden/burial sites, which are used for building material; land use planning; ecotourism; and the creation of alternative livelihoods.  Local communities and associations have been involved in the various activities and on-site training campaigns have been conducted.
Achievements & assessment:
  1. Mangrove reforestation started at the Samome site in 1995 with the support of several international agencies. As a result of the reforestation, sedimentation rates are increasing in the area, and important fauna - crabs and young fish - have reappeared.
  2. Training sessions and awareness campaigns have been held with representatives of the communities who have taken part in the reforestation efforts: village chiefs, leaders of youth groups, women’s groups.

  3. The project has shown that local communities are well aware of the economic and environmental value of mangroves and the dangers of over-exploitation.  However, poverty leads to misuse.

  4. Women’s group in the village of Dionewar have adopted an integrated rural management approach, and run their own co-operative, and sell vegetables to local hotels.

Future directions:
  1. A three-year project was started in mid-2001, with the additional involvement of the UCAD Regional Study Centre for the Improvement of the Adaptation to Drought, National Parks, and local associations and collectives. This project will focus on the dynamics of revegetation in the Biosphere Reserve, particularly ecosystem conservation, methods for the restoration of degraded areas and the monitoring of replanted areas.
  2. Further study will be conducted of the socio-cultural dimension of the use and access to natural resources, including the constraints associated with sacred sites.

Improvement of hygienic and environmental conditions, Yeumbeul, Sénégal (1996-1999, recommenced 2001)
Project leader: Dr. Abdoul Aziz Tandia, Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, Universit Cheikh Anta Diop, B.P.5346, Dakar-Fann, Sénégal.
Tel: 221 682 63 27 
Description: Yeumbeul is a coastal village, 20 km from Dakar, undergoing rapid and largely uncontrolled growth.  It is an area with sandy soils.  Few villagers have mains water supply and most people get their water from traditional wells. There is no proper sanitation, and human wastes are dumped directly onto the soil.  Many of the villagers suffer from gastrointestinal diseases.  This project set out to determine the level of contamination of the groundwater and to improve water quality.
Achievements & assessment:
  1. Bacteriological and chemical analyses of groundwater, soils and well water were conducted.  Surveys were also conducted to identify the intestinal and urinary parasites prevalent among the population.

  2. Education and awareness campaigns were conducted.

  3. The results of the studies were shared and discussed with the community as well as with local, regional and national administrative authorities.

  4. Solutions have been proposed such as the construction of watertight septic tanks, maintaining a sufficient distance between wells and latrines, waste collection, and the construction of a mains water supply.
  5. Based on these proposals, and with MOST providing support, ENDA-ECOPOP  built more wells and some sanitary facilities during the period 1996-2001.
  6. The results of a groundwater survey were published in 1997 as CSI info 3: Qualité de l’eau de la nappe phréatique à Yeumbeul, Sénégal.

Future directions:
  1. Towards the end of 2001, further chemical and bacteriological studies were conducted to determine whether there had been any improvement in the environmental and human health conditions since the construction of the wells and the sanitation facilities.
  2. Formal work relationships will be established between the UCAD scientific team and the main community association, CCTAS.
  3. Assist the community with land use planning.
Socio-cultural issues in a traditional coastal community, conservation of biological and cultural diversity, Yoff, Sénégal (1996-1999)
Project leader: Dr. Alioune Kane, Department of Geography, University Cheikh Anta Diop, B.P.5346, Dakar-Fann, Sénégal.
Tel: 221 860 01 04
e-mail: akane@ucad.sn, aliounekane@sentoo.sn
Description: A three-year postgraduate research project sought to define the socio-cultural identity of the Lébou community in Yoff, and to understand their relationship with the surrounding environment. Further studies since 1999, conducted in conjunction with the UNESCO Chair at UCAD, have focused on the need to seek alternative livelihoods since traditional activities, such as fishing and farming, have become uneconomic.
Achievements & assessment:
  1. Different activities relating to the conservation of the natural environment and the cultural heritage have been initiated.  These have focused around the Isle of Tueguene, which although tiny, is a sacred site, and symbolises the survival of the community.
  2. Detailed surveys were conducted of the villagers relating to the environment and their traditional ceremonies and religious practices.
  3. A document describing the output of this project was published in 2000, CSI papers 7: Yoff le territoire assiégé.
Future directions:
  1. Improve communication between associations involved in environmental awareness raising.
  2. Strengthen collaboration between the UNESCO Chair at UCAD and the Yoff village community, in particular, by focusing research and fieldwork on land use transformation, access to resources and related conflicts.
Multi-disciplinary approach to coastal productivity: small-scale fishing on the Lesser Senegal Coast, Hann to the Gambia border (2001-2003)
Project leader: Dr. Dieudonné Pandare, Faculty of Sciences & Techniques, University Cheikh Anta Diop, B.P.5346, Dakar-Fann, Sénégal.
Tel: 221 827 91 63, 221 824 60 56

e-mail: raddho@telecomplus.sn

This project has just started and seeks to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the sustainable development of small-scale fisheries.

Preservation and valuation of environmental resources and landscapes, Greater Senegal Coast, Saint Louis to Dakar. (2001-2003)
Project leader: Dr. Alioune Kane, Department of Geography, University Cheikh Anta Diop, B.P.5346, Dakar-Fann, Sénégal.
Tel: 221 860 01 04
e-mail: akane@ucad.sn, aliounekane@sentoo.sn
Description: This project has just started and has four main themes:
  1. Economics of coastal rural communities and the impacts of urbanisation.

  2. Preservation of coastal landscapes.

  3. Landscapes and sustainable tourism.

  4. Coastal changes (erosion in Yoff; erosion/sedimentation in the Senegal River estuary).


Introduction Activities Publications Search
Wise Practices Regions Themes