The reality of local development in Senegal

11/08/2018, Dakar, Senegal, Margherita writes:

Becoming familiar with Dakar

Independence Square

I am about to reach my first five months in Senegal... if the first three months have been tiring and a little painful, I can say with joy that the "adaptation period" is over. I’m now settled in Dakar, and I go to Kaolack for occasional missions, which has allowed me to build a social network in the city.

It was a long summer and the heat weighed on my daily activities.

I have gained more security and I’m now confident in walking around the corridors of the Ministry; I have adapted to the rhythms and dynamics of the office, which required a lot of independence and initiative. I have slowly come to understand that "training" here is not so much considered as following of a person by taking their hand, but rather as the possibility for a person to find an answer, a solution to a problem in an autonomous way, that is, to develop a capacity for reaction. “Training" is therefore a challenge that the individual must make the most of. No matter what solution the person comes up with, what matters is the willingness and the ability to look for a solution.

The Cellule

I am also happy to have been able to move away from the physical context of the office, which unfortunately does not meet Western standards of a healthy working environment (lack of natural light is perhaps what I suffer most). With effort and patience, I was able to create a pleasant human environment. The spirit of cooperation and interest in colleagues’ dossiers is highly appreciated, as is dialogue and the willingness to share what each person works on.

Although I am not formally included in this project, if necessary, I have offered my support to the PASNEEG team (the gender project implemented by the Unit) in the creation of multimedia products on gender equity and violence against women to be broadcasted on television.

In terms of the tasks performed during the last period, since September, I have attended many workshops and meetings. In detail, I participated, with the PADESS team, in the organization of a training workshop at the Kaolack Chamber of Commerce for journalists in the region. The training focused on social protection and the empowerment of low-income families receiving family benefits. The workshop, chaired by the Governor, was an opportunity for the PADESS progamme to present the Ministry's objectives to the press and to outline its strategy based on a multi-stakeholder approach, aimed at establishing a dynamic partnership within the region.

Visit on the field in Kaolack

With regard to the research support aspect, I recently submitted a proposal to the project coordinator. The study aims to ensure greater efficiency in the delivery of services provided by the CIDES of Kaolack by studying the difficulties women face in accessing the market.

Similarly, I am conducting a research to assess the need to explore the gender issue in agricultural risk management, which is of paramount importance given the food crisis in the Sahel. The usefulness of a better understanding of gender differences in agricultural risk assessment can lead to more comprehensive and effective agricultural resilience policies and risk management tools, thus avoiding significant disruption to rural livelihood strategies. The study would therefore identify the conceptual and operational relationship between gender issues and risk management in order to find concrete and practical ways to integrate gender differences in an operational way at different levels of project activity.

In conclusion, I can consider myself officially "adapted", at least to the life of the city.


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