With the fight against climate change, an ecological revolution is taking place in Africa. We see this in Senegal, a pioneer in the implementation of eco-villages, which have greatly improved the daily lives of rural populations.
To date, there are about 400 eco-villages in Senegal. An eco-village is a set of habitats, often in rural areas, whose purpose is to create harmony between man and his environment. Centered on an alternative economic model, the eco-village respects natural ecosystems. For example, it is based on alternative energy production and the development of local resources. Permaculture has a special place in this area: it is a method of producing crops, inspired by the way nature works and traditional know-how. Permaculture places each element in the best position to interact positively with others.
Launched in August 2008 by former President Abdoulaye Wade, the eco-villages project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Demba Mamadou, Director General of the Agence Nationale des Eco-Villages (ANEV), aims to create 14,000 eco-villages in Senegal before 2020. For example, the eco-village of Mbackombel, located in the west of the country, has tree blocks with fruit and vegetable trees. It also has a block for forest trees, to produce energy wood, and to protect endangered endemic and medicinal species. Another example is the eco-village of Ndick, in the north, where drinking water flows freely and there is no shortage of electricity. Thus, these eco-villages are the symbol of a true African green revolution.
In Senegal, more than half of the population lives in rural areas, where access to electricity is a major daily problem. In the eco-village of Darsalam, power plants and solar panels have been installed to supply the village with energy. People have easy access to clean water and electricity. Through renewable energy, the electrification of the village has amply improved the living conditions of the people, both socially and economically. Community sockets are installed, and the batteries recharge during the day, to light up the night. Cities and villages now have the same advantages.
Self-sufficient in energy, water and agro-forestry products, eco-villages produce fruit, vegetables and wood, while respecting ecological perimeters, and allow farmers to grow their own food while increasing their income. Thanks to their harvests, the people ensure their food and financial security. Green villages are full of income-generating activities: market gardening, livestock farming, trade, etc.
Today in Senegal, as elsewhere in Africa, agriculture provides jobs. We see young people returning to the countryside. They see agriculture as a source of stimulating opportunities, especially as green villages have significantly improved the quality of life. Colonel Moussa Diouf, coordinator of the UNDP-GEF eco-village project, aims to turn thousands of villages into eco-villages. To this end, it intends to spread eco-villages throughout the country, through partnerships with local development players. Each eco-village requires an average investment of 4 million euros, with considerable impact benefits: this will generate 4,000 jobs, combat poverty, food insecurity and the degradation of natural resources.
In Senegalese villages, children are sensitized to respect and protection of the environment. They learn to cultivate the land, preserving it. Women also play a vital role in the fight for sustainable development. Thus, the eco-village is a place where economic development and respect for the environment are echoed.
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