Social & Human Sciences

Women excluded from their community due to allegations of witchcraft, Delwende Centre, Burkina Faso© UNESCO

The Social and Human Sciences Sector of UNESCO works to develop knowledge, standards and intellectual cooperation in order to facilitate social transformations based on justice, freedom and human dignity.

In UNESCO Dakar, activities focus on the following areas:

Adapting policies for social inclusion

UNESCO Dakar is working with governments in several Sahel countries including Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to promote social inclusion as a central element for governmental policies and planning processes. We are building capacities in these countries to ensure that relevant policies and reforms take into account gender equality and the human rights-based approach. For example, in Burkina Faso we provide backing to centres that provide support and work to end the exclusion of women accused of witchcraft.

Another example of efforts to promote inclusion is a project of youth-led social innovation in Senegal (YouthActionNet Senegal). Executed by the International Youth Foundation (IYF), this intervention aims to strengthen the capacity of young entrepreneurs. Training is available on social innovations, and the “West Africa Research Center” (WARC), partner organization in Senegal, has already led the selection of the best initiatives of young social innovators.

Research in social sciences and social transformations

UNESCO works in the area of the impact of changing environments, and a selection of case studies have been recently published, notably on migration in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire. The studies promote multidisciplinary social science research and intercultural dialogue in support of policies on social transformations and social inclusion in West Africa.

We work closely with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in effort to raise awareness and support research ventures. Recently, a round-table on the theme "Strengthening Human and Social Sciences in Africa: intellectual and institutional challenges" was held in collaboration with the CODESRIA. The office also participated in the preparation of the World Forum of the Social sciences in partnership with the AFARD (African Women Association for the Research and the Development), the CODESRIA and UNIDEP (African institute of United Nations for economic development and the planning).

Back to top