"I was pleased and proud to see first-hand the impact of World Vision's work in Senegal in rural areas through the Household Livelihood Strengthening Project, funded by the Australian Aid. Keep up the good work!”. These were the words of Andrew Barnes, the Australian High Commissioner in Ghana, with responsibility for Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo, after meeting with communities in the Tambacounda region.
On 18 April 2018, the municipalities of Netteboulou and Missirah received a visit from the Australian Ambassador and a monitoring and evaluation team from the Department of Business and External Aid. The visit was concerned with the trading and achievements of the project to strengthen household livelihoods in the Tambacounda department, funded by the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and which aims to improve the resilience to food and nutrition insecurity of 4000 households.
A packed visit
The visit got underway in the morning with a meeting with the local authorities in Missirah, during which they reaffirmed their acknowledgement of the efforts of partners such as ANCP, World Vision Australia and World Vision Senegal in the transformational development of their community. "We are very honoured by your visit. It's really a pleasure to know that we can count on partners like you,” declared Issa Signate, the mayor of Netteboulou. He added: "The Australian government has always been a strategic partner in the development of our community. We owe you a debt of thanks. The current project funded by the ANCP is a sign of this. This project comes not only to bring relief and improvement to our living conditions in terms of resilience and food security, but it also increases the credibility of World Vision’s interventions in the community.”
The delegation of World Vision and the ambassador with the local authorities
At Hamdallaye Pont, a meeting was held by the Territorial Committee for Disaster Risk Management. This committee is one of four that the project has set up and trained in the Missirah municipality. It has enabled local people to develop several prevention and risk management strategies (bushfire, deforestation/excessive cutting, flooding, soil degradation). President Bangaly Makalou gave a presentation on his committee’s activities across the 12 member villages. Other testimonies, such as that of Warrant Officer Signate, Head of the Water and Forests Sector, underlined the need to further strengthen the partnership between public services and stakeholders to achieve the project's objectives. Several discussions between visitors and the attending community served to confirm the importance of environmental management to sustainable development.
Warrant Officer SIGNATE testifying
Help for the people of Kodiam and Lougé Nialby
A cash transfer benefitting 395 households in 39 villages around Missirah and Netteboulou was organised, each household receiving 20,000-40,000 FCFA in proportion to its size. The beneficiary households, through the village chief of Kodiam, thanked the donors. Several people came forward to share what the payout had meant for them. "When I received this money, harvests were in progress but there were no buyers because the selling campaign had not started. This money was used to buy school supplies for my children and the other part for my family's food supplies,” remarked one beneficiary Abdoulaye Toure. For Penda Thiam of Kodiam, part of the money was used for medical care and the other part for household food needs.
Meeting with communities to discuss their means of resilience
The delegation also visited the village savings and loan group called Bamtaaré,which the project has also set up and supported. A presentation was given on the Village Savings and Loans Group (VSLG), and there was a talk about mother and baby health. Likewise, the group got a taste of what happens in weekly meetings during a simulation of savings meeting: its different stages, the number of members, their outlook, governance, the elements of the kit, the system for purchasing stakes, etc.
The delegation visiting the village savings and loan group Bamtaaré
Diba Sissoko, head nurse at the Hamdallaye Pont health hut, gave a talk about feeding children from 0 to 6 months old. The weekly meetings of the VSLG regularly feature discussions such as this and other topics of relevance to the members. In this way the importance of the savings groups expands out of the financial dimension into a forum that can embrace development issues, gender, health and the environment, etc. VSLGs provide a lot of support to women in particular. The occasion wound up with a joyous outburst of music and dance moves that got everybody rocking.
This two-year integrated project is in its first year of implementation and aims to improve the resilience of 4,000 households to food and nutrition insecurity.
Andrew Barnes, the Australian High Commissioner in Ghana, with responsibility for Senegal with children