Senegal: Two New Epicenters and Expanding Women's Program
Update to the Global Board
During the last six months, the construction of two epicenter buildings, Dinguiraye (featured in the photo on the left) and Ndereppe, has been completed. The equipment has also been set up.
As far as the microfinance program is concerned, the funds granted to organizations and individuals are being repaid at the epicenters' banks. At the same time, THP-Senegal has submitted an application to the Ministry of Finance such that all previously recognized banks will maintain bank status under a new national law being applied in 2009. Such recognition by the State is necessary for them to access credit lines available at the national market and to reassure customers.
Regarding food security, it should be remembered that food producers received significant quantities of fertilizers and seeds in May 2008. It was agreed that one quarter of 2008 campaign crops would be saved as stock at the food bank during the first quarter of 2009. Thus, the cereal crops expected were 183 tons, while stocks to be saved by producers in the cereal banks were 53 tons. Presently, only 42 tons of cereals (millet + rice + beans) are available in the cereal banks, since some producers take a long time to bring the expected quantities. THP-Senegal staff has already started to go around to epicenters in order to persuade those producers to bring crops.
The Women's Empowerment Program (WEP) launching took place in November 2008. In fact, 15 trainings of trainers have been held for the WEP's three main fields: health, leadership and women's rights. Since February 2009, WEP trainers have already trained 1,771 persons (148 men and 1,623 women) in the three fields.
Details on Progress
Food Security Access
290 epicenter producers have plowed 305 hectares of millet and produced 183 tons of grain. From the 53 tons expected in the cereal banks, 42 tons are already available in the epicenters cereal bank.
Dinguiraye Epicenter construction finished in November 2008. It has been equipped by THP-Senegal and has increased the population's massive enthusiasm all around. All the important administrative, political and religious meetings take place in the epicenter. The most impressive aspect is that all parents have registered their children in the kindergarten. In addition, Ndereppe Epicenter was finished on March 22, 2009 and THP is getting ready to equip it.
Fight against HIV/AIDS
More than 250 persons (men, female, youth, pupils, political and religious authorities, health experts, etc.) mobilized themselves in the fight against HIV/AIDS celebration day held on December 1, 2008 at Dinguiraye Epicenter. That day, HIV/AIDS testing enabled 31 people to screen themselves. No positive cases were identified among the 31 volunteers.
Women's equality and independence promotion through the Women's Empowerment Project
Nearly 1,771 persons (148 men and 1,623 women) have been mobilized through WEP animation on issues related to women's rights, reproductive health, and leadership. Partners are particularly excited about the birth certificate registration at the epicenters. Since the beginning of the program, 180 WEP volunteers have been identified.
Partners' mobilization and capacity building through epicenters Vision, Commitment and Action Workshops (VCAWs)
Nearly 2,158 persons (143 men and 2,015 women) have been mobilized through VCAWs on various issues related to health, education, food security, childhood malnutrition and on THP principles and philosophy.
Epicenter women's literacy
Literacy training is currently ongoing for the benefit of 600 women, who are learning literacy, numeracy and management in local languages in the three epicenters of Dahra, Coki and Sam Contor. The training will have an important impact on the management committees set up in epicenters, especially in transparency, visibility and sustainability.
Kindergarten children's education
281 children have access to kindergarten education in Dinguiraye and Sanar Epicenters thanks to the support of THP-Senegal which provides them with educational and food support.
Nutritional support to children and fight against child malnutrition
3,230 child food bags, produced by Mpal food unit, have been put at the disposal of epicenters for children under five years of age, including those registered in the kindergartens. Each child has the right to one nutritious meal at school.
Access to health care through Health Mutuals
1,387 recipients from Dahra Epicenter got access to health care thanks to the epicenter's Health Mutual, which has 469 members. Coki Epicenter Health Mutual is in the process of being set up. 195 members have already registered. Its activities will start in the next quarter.
Beginning of Sanar Epicenter small hospital activities
THP-Senegal equipped Sanar's small hospital, whose activities have started with the matrons' and nursing staff's support. But we realize that people do not access the small hospital. The epicenter committee is thinking about a solution.
Access to credits thanks to Mutuals of Saving and epicenter credit program
More than 94,000,000 CFA (US$193,671) has been granted to 170 organizations and 1,900 individuals to help them develop income-generating activities.
Epicenter community micro-enterprise financing
3,200,000 CFA (US$6,593) has been granted to 17 successful organizations with amounts ranging from 150,000 (US$309) to 200,000 CFA (US$412) for them to develop and reinforce their micro projects. These loans do not require initial contribution.
THP-Senegal has a strong partnership with decentralized state services, especially the Department Accreditation Agencies and Health Districts.
- Saint Louis Accreditation Officer has placed three state school masters (trained and paid by Senegalese Government) at Sanar Epicenter for the children's education at the epicenter's kindergarten.
- The partnership with Dinguiraye primary school masters enabled the training of 3 kindergarten monitors for Dinguiraye epicenter preschool.
- The Dahra health service signed an agreement with the local Health Mutual to facilitate members' access to health care on account of the mutual to pay the fees.
- In November 2008, THP-Senegal signed a partnership agreement with Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO) (The Netherlands) for non-formal education in Dahra and Coki Epicenters. The program started in December 2009 and covers the period 2009-2011. Its objective is building women's capacity through:
- Literacy for 450 women;
- Thematic training for 540 women for the development of income-generating activities: food-processing, management, milk production, cattle breeding; and
- Access to credit for Dahra and Coki Epicenter organizations.
- In October 2008, the Local Development National Program (LDNP) contributed funds to Dendeye Rural Community for the construction of Sam Contor Epicenter's fence wall. The epicenter's construction is planned for 2009.
Broader Awareness and Advocacy
Many events organized by THP-Senegal have been subject to media coverage over the last six months:
- The celebration of World AIDS Day held at Dinguiraye Epicenter was covered by RTS (National TV and Radio) and by Sud FM radio station (first private radio station in Senegal) on December 1, 2008;
- WEP Training of Trainers in Louga before the Development Regional Agency Director of Louga (Sud FM Radio on November 11, 2008);
- The ICCO program launching and Coki literacy animators' diploma delivery (Dunya FM Radio of Louga on January 8, 2009).
The major innovation over last six months has been the mobile communication network development connecting THP-Senegal staff and the epicenter partners. The use of cell phones at any time and without limitation enables daily communication. At the epicenter, each member can use the telephone to talk to a THP staff member. It is also possible for THP to get needed information at any time and whatever the distance of the area.
It should be noted that the initial project objective was to cut down THP-Senegal's telephone bill. This innovation is not only going to reduce the telephone communications cost, but it will lead to more intensive communication between THP and its partners. It will also favor exchanges between members of different epicenters.
In order to reinforce the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system, in October 2008 THP-Senegal organized a training session in project management and monitoring on behalf of the technical staff.
THP-Senegal's team is supported by animators and volunteers doing MDG indicator data collection. Collection takes place quarterly at the epicenter and with the local representatives in charge of education and health (health district, Department Accreditation). The epicenter trainers and animators have been trained in data collection and processing. These animators are also helped by the epicenter resident female animator, management committee members, and the female bank manager. Finally, all the data are processed through to THP-Senegal and are checked by the M&E and AWFFI Officers. They analyze and input the data they process directly in the database.
In February 2009, THP-Senegal set up a mobile (GSM) telephone network connecting all staff and epicenter representatives from different areas. This new opportunity enables everybody to communicate freely at any time; it also facilitates the data collection for a better M&E.