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Indigenous Knowledge Program for Development

IK Cases


Knowledge Pack : Senegal

This Knowledge Pack contains Indigenous Knowledge cases and other useful information related to Senegal. The indigenous knowledge pack is a tool that provides users with quick access to synthesized information by country or selected thematic area.

For more Information on the
Indigenous Knowledge Program
please contact: Reinhard Woytek

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IK Cases


Community Participation Promotes Biodiversity Conservation

Education Indigenous Language as a non-profit Business
Enterprise Development Training Standards in the Informal Sector

Self Managed Clinics Improve Maternal Health

Abolishing FGM with the Support of Traditional Leaders

Rural Finance Domino effect of Building Local Banks Based on Group Responsibility


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Community Participation Promotes Biodiversity Conservation

: Flora and fauna of the Natural Reserve of Popenguine, a shelter along the migratory route of numerous birds that follow the Atlantic coast of West Africa, had been severely damaged by the effects of drought, increased grazing, and firewood harvest. To reclaim the reserve a group of women created the Association of Women of Popenguine for the Protection of the Environment. The association raised green firebreaks around the entire perimeter, replanted native species furnished by a nursery established at the same time, and trained young volunteers from neighboring urban areas in nature conservation who eventually performed much of the physical labor. The women not only succeeded in re-stimulating local biodiversity and restoring the natural vegetation of the area but their efforts also apparently contributed materially to the reappearance of animal species not seen in those parts for years: porcupines, mongoose, pata, jackals, civet cats, etc. During the following eight years, the RFPPN used first its own resources and then additional ones provided by donor organizations. The restoration of the reserve's ecology attracts the sort of tourist activity that would genuinely benefit the local population, as opposed to earlier tourist traffic.

Lesson: Taking ownership of natural resources through the local community helps to preserve indigenous bio-diversity and provides additional income.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Note 8

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Indigenous Language as a non-profit Business

Summary: Since 1986 the organization “ARED” (Association for Research on Education) has dedicated itself to the publication of reading materials in the Pulaar language for learners in northwest Senegal. This is actually only one of a series of efforts, including another coordinated by APESS (Associa-tion Peulh pour l’Education et la Science) in Burkina Faso, that have been devoted in recent years to promoting the use of different regional variants of Fulfuldé, the language of the Peulh—an ethnic group of age-old tradition that is spread out from North Cameroon to the Atlantic Coast but rarely constitutes the majority in the regions it inhabits. The activities of ARED have been energetically supported by associations of Pulaar speakers who have emigrated to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Maghreb and Europe. This support has enabled ARED to produce a whole series of books and newspapers in Pulaar and to give a new impetus to literacy courses for adults. Achieving literacy in Pulaar has become a symbol of honor in village society in this part of Senegal, and literacy campaigns launched on this basis have greatly contributed to a cultural renewal throughout the region.

Lesson: Adult literacy increases when based on local languages and thus contributes to the cultural renewal of a minority ethnic group.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Note 38

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Self Managed Clinics Improve Maternal Health

Summary: A group of women in the village of Saam Njaay in the region of Senegal established a program of “baby-weighing” and maternal health. Building on the contribution of materials by a philanthropic organization and the support of some husbands, they extended the program to more than 15 villages in the small region, where pregnant women and mothers of young infants could visit the infirmary for consultations and medical visits. The group gradually expanded its functions to a complete system of preventive medicine, first aid, and referral to the regional dispensary as needed. Its personnel maintained such detailed files on consultation and treatment that it was possible, beginning in 1996, for the group to conduct its own statistical analysis retracing the incidence and evolution of infantile disease in the zone; the results demonstrated a net improvement on several important indicators.

Lesson: Relying on local organizations helps to integrate traditional and modern health systems to improve primary health care.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)

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Abolishing FGM with the Support of Traditional Leaders

Summary: In June 1997 the women of Malicounda, Senegal attended a non-formal education program led by TOSTAN, a local NGO. Inspired by the training, they decided to abandon the practice of female genital cutting. They convinced the village council to abolish the practice officially. Not satisfied with this result, they launched a locally impelled movement. They created a team (including a few of their husbands) to visit neighboring villages. They spoke to women there and helped them win the support of their communities. The women also convinced the traditional leaders, including the Imam of Malicounda, to support their agenda and became involved actively as change agents. In January 1998, in the "Declaration of Malicounda" a congress of 18 village leaders from the region committed to abandon the practice. Soon after, President Abdou Diouf of Senegal endorsed the "Oath of Malicounda" as a model for national adoption. As of March 2001, this grass roots movement had spread to more than 200 communities nationwide and several other communities in other countries as well.

Lesson: Traditional leaders and women's group working together is an efficient way to end harmful cultural practices.

Source: IK-Notes No. 3 and 31

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Enterprise Development

Training Standards in the Informal Sector

Summary: The Leather Artisan's Group (le Groupement d'Intérêt Economique des Artisans de Cuir) was formed eight years ago to address difficulties faced by its sixty members in obtaining raw materials (leather, skins, glue, dyes, rubber, cloth, thread, etc.) and the rising costs of these inputs, exacerbated by currency devaluation. Today the Leather Artisan's Group also serves its constituency by instituting standard procedures among its members, including methods for training apprentices, organizing marketing and securing input. Like many other "economic interest groups" created in the country over the last few years, the Leather Artisans do not constitute a modern enterprise or an officially licensed profession. Because of the complementary nature of the leather trade to other crafts and the many people it employs, it is a mainstay of the informal sector of the Senegalese economy.

Lesson: Associations of producers of the informal sector formed under economic pressures eventually offer guild-like services to its members without becoming part of the formal sector.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes (to be published)

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Domino effect of Building Local Banks Based on Group Responsibility

Summary: Fandène is a village community located six kilometers from Thiès, Senegal. It was formerly the site of a Catholic mission and rural community center. In 1987 the residents of Fandène created their own credit mutual and savings union. It has now expanded to branches in twenty neighboring villages, of both Islamic and Christian affiliation. This network, entirely self-managed in Fandène and on its way to being so in the other communities of the network, has progressively amassed capital of twenty million CFA francs. The various branches solicit loan requests from groups and individuals in the surrounding area, require formal written application and justification, perform their own formal evaluation of the feasibility of the loan, and offer technical assistance to help borrowers make their investments profitable. The savings institutions in each community collect repayments at an annual interest rate of 15%, and reinvest profits in the their own institutional development and in local social service programs. The Fandène network has in addition created technical advisory teams to assist groups in low-income neighborhoods of the nearby cities of Thiès and Dakar who wish to establish their own credit and savings programs.

Lesson: Savings and loan schemes based on local groups and peer control facilitates capital accumulation in a rural area.

Source: University of Florida, IK-Notes 6

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Local IK Sources

Mme Sonja Fagerberg-Diallo

Director Association for Research, Education and Development (ARED)

B.P. 10737 Dakar – Liberté, Senegal

Villa 8253 Sacré Cœur I, Dakar, Senegal

Tel : 221-825-71-19/824-50-98

Fax : 221-824-70-97

Email :


Dr. Henri M. Lô

Institut des Sciences de l’Environnement (ISE)

Université Cheik Anta Diop de Dakar

B.P. 5883 Dakar-Fann

République du Sénégal

Tel. : 221-824-23-02

Home : 221-860-31-05

Fax : 222-824-37-14


Cel.: 221-644-51-19


Mme Mariam Sow


ENDA/Pronat (Protection Naturelles des Cultures)

B.P. 3370

54, Rue Carnot

Dakar, Senegal

Tel.: 221-822-55-65

Home : 221-834-02-60

Cel.: 221-637-12-88



M. Emmanuel Ndione

Executive Secretary for Coordination

ENDA/GRAF (Groupe Recherches Actions et Formations)

Grand Yoff – Cité Millionnaire

B.P. 13069

Dakar, Sénégal

Tel : 221-827-20-25

Fax : 221-827-32-15

Email :



Professeur Hervé de LAUTURE

Enda-MadeSahel (Méthodes Apliquées au Développement du Sahel)

Centre El Hadj Thierno Saïdou Nourou Tall – Mbour,


B.P. 6259


Tel: 221-957-15-33 (Mbour)

Tel/Fax: 221-823-76-76 (Dakar)


M. Mohamed Soumare


Programme ECOPOP

ENDA Tiers Monde

Km 6, Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop

B.P. 3370 Dakar


Tel.: 221-821-05-44

Fax : 221-821-05-33

Email :


Professeur Massaer Diallo

Directeur General de l’Université des Mutants de Gorée

B.P. 16738 Dakar – Fann

Tel. : (D) 221-860-72-30

Cel : 221-684-94-34

Email :


M. Mansour Tall


International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

B.P. 5579

Dakar, Senegal

Tel.: 221-824-44-17

Fax: 221-824-44-13

Email: iiedsen@telecom-plus.sen


M. Babacar Diop Buuba


Conseil des Organisations Non-Gouvernementales d’Appui au Développement


Sicap Amitié 1 Villa No. 3029 bis

B.P. 4109

Dakar, Senegal

Tel: 221-824-41-16

Fax: 221-824-44-13

Cel: 221-644-41-62

Home: 221-820-36-17



M. Koumakh Ndour


Ecole Nationale d’Economie Appliquée (ENEA)

Km 6, Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop

B.P. 5084


Tel/fax: 221-825-25-48

Cel: 221-634-09-91

Home : 221-825-96-81



Professor Waly Diouf

Chef de Département Recherche Appliquée

Ecole Nationale d’Economie Appliquée (ENEA)

Km 6, Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop

B.P. 5084


Tel/fax: 221-825-31-76

Cel: 221-631-65-91

Fax : 221-825-25-48

Email :

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Bank Projects

Quality Education  

This project supports Senegal's educational framework which aims for quality universal basic education in 2008-09. One of the main project components is to improve educational quality by focusing on early childhood development, a school improvement of small grants, urban initiatives, school and family reading, introducing national languages in literacy training, textbooks and reading materials, school health and nutrition, the dropout and repetition initiatives, adult basic education, evaluation of student learning, teacher training, science and technology, and vocational training. This will be done in tandem with decentralized planning and community participation.

Full Report: PAD


Pilot Female Literacy Project

This project will support the first phase of the government's 10-year program which aims to reduce the illiteracy rate.  The main objective of the first phase (1995-2000) is to lower the illiteracy rate to about 40 percent overall, and to 47 percent for women, by supporting literacy providers to offer programs to a total of about 300,000 beneficiaries, 75 percent women. Other objectives include ensuring the sustainability of literacy skills and strengthening the capacity of the public sector to monitor, evaluate and coordinate public investments in literacy programs.

Full Report: ICR



Endemic Disease Control

The global objective this project is to help the government alleviate the burden of endemic and epidemic diseases among the Senegalese populations.  For the year 2002, benchmarks established include reducing infant mortality, urinary schistosomiasis; and the risk of blindness due to onchocerciasis. One of the project support policy measures includes strengthening the National Endemic Disease Service's (SNGE) capabilities and the Hygiene and Public Health Directorate's (DHSP) ability in project management. Specifically, project support will take the form of financing consultant services to design and produce information campaigns and national control programs, and studies and operational research; the education of opinion makers in households; using preventative measures and dispensing pharmaceuticals to treat schoolchildren; training nurses and the national endemic disease service staff; the procurement of computer hardware and software, furniture and other equipment; and the design and supervision of civil works.

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Bank Sources

Indigenous Knowledge for Development Link to the Homepage of the Indigenous Knowledge for Development Program of the Africa Region

Database of Indigenous Knowledge and Practices Link to the Database of Practices of the Indigenous Knowledge for Development Program of the Africa Region

IK Notes Newsletter Link to the IK Notes of the Indigenous Knowledge for Development Program of the Africa Region

An Introduction to the Microfinance Institutions Contact List


External Sources

Register for Best Practices in Indigenous Knowledge Link to the database of Best Practices of UNESCO

Nuffic/CIRAN IK Development Monitor and Addresses of Other IK Centers Link to the Addresses of Other IK Centers and CIRAN's IK-Pages

Please send feedback or comments to

Should you know of other indigenous knowledge practices that have helped or may help to improve Bank programs, please share them with us. We will enter your contribution into the IK-Database.

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 IK Contribution Format

1. Country:

Where is the practice applied (country and location)?

2. Domain:

In which sector is the practice applied (agriculture, health, social development etc.)?

3. Technology:

What technology (e.g. soil erosion control, childcare, institutional development etc.)?

4. Bearers of Knowledge:

By whom is the practice applied (e.g. Washambaa, local healers, women's group of a given village etc.)?

5. Source:

Where can we inquire further?

Primary provider information (probably yourself or your institution)

Secondary providers of information

Add references to literature, web sites, names of individuals or organizations that can corroborate the practice.

Include addresses of primary and secondary providers of information.

6. Descriptive headline of practice:

One to two lines capturing the main features of a practice.

7. Summary:

Describe the main features of the practice and explain (not more than 200 words).

8. Lessons:

Answer three key questions related to efficacy and impact of the practice.

- Why it is important for the local community?

- Why might it be beneficial to other communities?

- Why should development organizations learn more about this practice?

9. Methods used to capture information:

How was the practice identified, recorded and documented?


The IK database is an open, on-line resource for information on indigenous knowledge practices. The database acts as a referral system and does not disclose the technical details of practices or applications. Most practices in the database have been reported elsewhere in publicly accessible information sources. As is the principle of a referral database the provider of information could be asked by users of the database to provide further information or pointers as regards details of the practice. It is to the discretion of the provider of information and the inquirer to negotiate the terms of the exchange of knowledge. No information provided will be made public without the consent of the provider.

Should you know of other indigenous knowledge practices that have helped or may help to improve Bank programs, please share them with us. We will enter your contribution into the IK-Database.

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