A new project in the Matam region of Senegal, conceived and backed by Green Cross Italy, will bring innovative agricultural solutions to five local villages. Projects like this are at the core of Green Cross’ mission to prevent and resolve conflicts arising from environmental degradation. It provides integrated humanitarian and environmental aid to people affected by climate instability.
This initiative also responds to a pressing need for effective intervention to address the serious challenge of irregular migration in West Africa. Today, the main migration corridor runs through the coastal capital, Dakar (a major hub, from which they can take the sea route to Spain). The highest levels of migration in the area are found between Senegal (Tambacunda), Mali (Kayes) and the Gambia.
The lack of opportunities for decent livelihoods is a great injustice, and the main incentive to start this project. It comes about as a result of a terrible conjunction of economic and social disadvantages, as well as soil impoverishment and the effects of climate change (drought, desertification , etc.). To be effective, development must take all of these factors into account.
“When you ask people from northern Senegalese villages why they migrate, they say that economic pressures are the most important,” said Ndéye Fatou Diaw Guene, Division Chief and Programme Lead on Climate Change for the Ministry of Environment. “Even so, their reasons for leaving home are usually more complex and intertwined. Food security is cited by 29 per cent of respondents, and this factor is closely tied to both environmental and economic challenges.”
The project, titled “HADII Yahde” – Energy to Stay! In the local Phulaar language, will strengthen the resilience of fragile communities through the introduction of sustainable agricultural systems. These incorporate water and energy saving innovations and small photovoltaic systems to improve quality of life, promote inclusive employment and income, and reduce illegal migration in target areas.
The direct beneficiaries live in 5 local villages and total 2,106 people, of which 1,887 are women. Most are small farmers and peasants. A further 15,000 inhabitants of these villages will benefit indirectly. It addresses the primary factors identified by Green Cross Italy to promote the welfare and socioeconomic development of Senegal’s north-eastern regions, which are: ensuring access to water resources; enhancing the sustainable production capacity of territories; promoting the self-reliance and resilience of local communities; increasing the use of local labour; and reducing gender inequalities.
Green Cross continues in this way to respond to one of its foundational commitments: to develop on-the-ground projects, which provide models that can be replicated to improve the lives of humans and their relationship with the environment.
The project will be completed over a nine-month period and will cost about USD 560,000, of which USD 140,000 will be provided by Green Cross Italy directly. Further finance is coming from AICS (the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), ENEA (Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), Senegal’s Organization for the Development Value of the Senegal River (OMVS), the Fouta Association Federation for Development (FAFD), ARD (Regional Development Agency), and the USAID / Yajeende programme.