TESTIMONY OF MEMBERS
10 RECONDITIONED SCHOOL BUS DISPENSARIES WITH INTERNET
CONNECTIONS TO HELP ROLL BACK EXCISION IN WESTERN AFRICA
REMINDERS CONCERNING THE ASSOCIATION AND ITS GLOBAL PROJECT
Our NGO is an offshoot of a therapy group for excision patients and asylum seekers. Its goal is to contribute to the effective implementation of the Human Rights established by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights by working toward the abolition of excision and forced marriages in Western Africa.
The African girls in danger are the little girls who have remained in the village and who risk at any time being excised and married as children.
This project is the answer to the primary concern of the members of SOS African Women in Danger :
“to act on the ground so that the little girls left behind in the village will no longer be excised.”
➣ THAT IS WHY IT IS EXTREMELY URGENT
FOR US TO ERADICATE THIS SCOURGE.
➣ 1 victim every 4 minutes according to Unicef
➣ 3 million girls below 15 years old risk being excised each year.
➣ 200 million women are excised, in majority in 25 African countries.
It is an ambitious public health social program which is offering to help better the living conditions
of the populations of some of the most disadvantaged localities in Western Africa
so that they may have access to harmonious societal and economic development.
It will contribute in this way to the protection and promotion of Human Rights,
Women’s Rights and of course of Children’s Rights.
In concrete terms, this project consists of putting in place some atypical logistical means on the ground: 10 Canadian school buses, meeting the latest antipollution and safety standards for the transportation of children, will be purchased. After reconditioning they will become mobile dispensaries connected to the internet and able to reach the most remote rural areas.
These mobile dispensaries will be put to work in the villages the most concerned by the practice of excision in 10 Western African countries chosen by the project. These are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Togo.
In the «dispensary» part of the bus, government officials, licensed health professionals, will listen to the mothers and the little girls. Free support and medical care will be given to them during these regional visits conducted on behalf of the association.
In the “media” sector, at the back of the bus, there will be integrated communication and activity tools. The 10 mobile dispensaries will be able to network with each other as well as with others over the internet. National communicators, digital professionals, will use a satellite dish to support controlled and participatory communication with the village communities visited and the power of the pan-African internet network that has been set up.
This nuanced approach will install a climate of mutual trust enabling discussions with the villagers, the local authorities and the tribal chiefs about how to better the living conditions of their people. It will then be possible to touch on such subjects as the evolution of traditional practices which can have damaging, little-known but irreversible consequences for health such as those of excision or child marriages.
THE PROVISIONAL BUDGET FOR THE GLOBAL PROJECT FOR 5 YEARS (10 BUSSES,10 COUNTRIES) : 1 000 000 €
THE PILOT PROJECT FOR 3 YEARS, 2020/2022 :
Senegal is currently considered to be the emerging country of Western Africa due to its political stability and its choices for economic development; it will mark our century. Its capital, Dakar, is becoming a sub-regional capital regrouping the official headquarters of numerous pan- African organizations. It was for these reasons that it was chosen for the launching of our pilot project as well as the optimization of its future network in Western Africa.
Three construction sites will be developed during its three years in order
to guarantee three specific objectives and their expected results :
OUR PROJECT TEAM
Ms. Danielle MÉRIAN : President of SoS Africaines en Danger.
She leads this project and handles its promotion in France on a daily basis in the media, the social network, before non-profit organizations and various fora (French Senate, UNICEF, UNESCO, etc.).
Mr. Jean-Michel VANZO : Project Manager and Project Proponent.
He has experience carrying out various humanitarian projects on the ground.
He manages the project with Danielle MERIAN.
Ms. Aminata BAKHOUM : Senegalese Filmmaker.
Correspondent for Senegal and West Africa, she is in charge of following up with the project on the field and of relations with our local partners. She created privileged contacts with health clinics, village leaders, former cutters (person performing the excision). These contacts will allow to maximise the impact of the actions which will be carried out in these regions.
OUR LOCAL PARTNERS
It has delivered an authorization permitting our French association to establish itself and to lead its activities throughout the entire national territory.
This is our host Ministry (we will work under its auspices). Its two branches, the Directorate of Mothers’ and Children's Health (DSME) and the Directorate of General Administration (DAGE) are working with us on the administrative and legal aspects of the project. Its National Health Education and Information Service (SNEIPS) is advising us concerning the communication aspects of our project. People from this Ministry will be part of the team traveling to the rural areas.
It will work along side of us to put in place school assignments throughout the entire territory and to initiate meetings and academic work within Saint Louis University.
This is a public transit company in Senegal with a fleet of over 700 buses. It owns the technical workshops where the buses will be reconditioned and will benefit from technical servicing.
It is one of the large sub-regional universities. It will be active within our “think tank” with its researchers, professors and its GESTE (Study and research group on societies and gender) laboratory.
It will work within our reflection group with its professors to organize colloquiums.
Their youth sectors in Senegal and France will be our partners when organizing the colloquiums of SOS African Women in Danger’s
This is a new local news television station based in Dakar. It will be our first media relay in Yoff, the biggest borough of the City of Dakar
➣ The Organizations of former excision practitioners.
These will work at our side in the regions visited to better optimize our actions on the ground and to let us benefit from their achievements.
Il interviendra pour nous soutenir dans des actions de communication au Sénégal.
It will intervene to support us in our communication actions in Senegal.
It will intervene as an entrepreneurial specialist for the establishment of micro-economies vectors for sustainable solutions in the areas where the school bus dispensaries will be active.
DESCRIPTION OF THE WORK SITES 2020/2022 :
Its rehabilitation as an internet connected dispensary for the bush will take place in the technical workshops of Dakar Dem Dikk, a Senegalese public transit company in charge of a fleet of over 700 buses, with the expertise of its agents. Specific training sessions will be held with the dispensary bus team (driver, communications person, and government health agents).
An initial regional tour will permit an on the ground upgrading of the performance of this new tool and its team making them more operational through simple processes that can easily be reproduced for future action. A capitalization will finalize this work site making it structural.
A comprehensive action plan will be drawn up proposing a duplicable methodology for the technical construction of the 9 other dispensary buses and the internal organization of their human capital.
WORK SITE 01 : AN INTERNET CONNECTED DISPENSARY BUS WITH ITS DEDICATED TEAM
It consists of constructing a first “internet connected dispensary bus”, training the teams and optimizing the operation during a trial ground run.
This first bus will be purchased and transported by ship from Canada to Dakar. A container with material, specific tools and a service car will be shipped by boat from France to Dakar.
WORK SITE 02 : A “SOS AFRICAN WOMEN IN DANGER” THINK TANK
This “think tank” will be created and developed during the entire project. Its aim is to bring about the abandon of the practice of excision through a sharing of knowledge thanks to different think poles but also to action strategy propositions. It will bring together national and international leaders having had remarkable career paths linked to this combat as well as representatives of our activists and current members
This choice will thus favor a supported analysis of this complex problematic.
“Think tank” will be organized in Senegal and in France with the hotel partners(Radisson/Dakar; Marriott/Paris) and also with the universities (The Gaston Berger University of Saint Louis/Senegal; The Sorbonne/Paris) in order to obtain the largest possible multigenerational dimension.
This reflection group will thus permit the proposing of recommendations to contribute to the success of its general goal: fighting excision.
An already existing first series of productions will be implemented from the start of the project: a YouTube channel, a web series, several colloquiums for reflexion in Senegal and in France, work at the school and university levels. A second series of productions will be created following the orientations proposed by the « SOS African Women in Danger » Club.
In this way a range of extensive tools will be conceived including thematic contents, teaching materials and activist campaigns designed to efficiently fuel the fight against excision.
These deliverable tools will be used in the «on the ground” actions of the dispensary buses, in the media, on the internet, in activist advocacy and, in general, in a controlled global communication policy, in a climate of mutual confidence and multigenerational participation.
WORK SITE 03 : A RANGE OF CAMPAIGNING TOOLS
As of January 1, 2020, our pilot project 2020/2022 is being financed to the level of 37% by civil society, foundations and associations. It has started up on the ground in Senegal and in Paris as of this date.
We are currently searching for funds in order to finalize the pilot project budget 2020/2022 (248 200€) and searching for funds in order to execute our global pan-African project for 2023/2027 in 10 countries (1 000 000€).
➣ This atypical project falls completely within the priorities of the United Nations and deserves to find funding in order to exist and thus protect and improve human rights and dignity.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Through our fundraising appeal. It is being made via “GoFundMe” a professional, participatory, online platform with all necessary security for credit card payment over the internet.
➣ By spreading our project to as many people as possible, talk about it !
AFRICA IS TODAY CONSIDERED TO BE
THE CONTINENT WHICH WILL MARK OUR CENTURY.
LET’S GIVE YOUNG GIRLS, THESE FUTURE WOMEN,
THE CHANCE TO BECOME THE ACTORS OF OUR SOCIETY.
THEY SUPPORT US
➣ Celebrity :
➣ Company :
➣ Federation and association :
➣ Senegalese administrations and institutions :
VISUAL MISSIONS REALIZED BETWEEN 2017 AND 2019
IN CANADA BEFORE SECURING THE PURCHASE OF OUR FUTURE SCHOOL BUSES :
➣ warehouses to store them ; maintenance workshops for a “technical” examination
IN SENEGAL WITH OUR PARTNERS :
➣ first administrative procedures: National Assembly, Ministry of the Interior, Dakar Prefecture, Domestic Security.
➣ visit to a dispensary during a vaccination session in the Kaolack region; our future logistics partner.
➣ visit to Mrs. Kane, President of the association of former excision practitioners in the region where this practice is the most
widespread : Matam.
➣ visit to Mrs. SY, former excision practitioner from a family exercising this profession for 6 generations in the Dakar region;
our future reference contact.
➣ in the Director General’s office at Dem Diik Dakar. The project is validated, the school buses will be rehabilitated in their workshops.
➣ attribution of prizes in a junior school following work projects on excision ; meetings with local authorities and our Health department
➣ visit to a “mobile surgery unit” truck at the Ministry of Health and Social Action for efficient medical rounds with our school bus
➣ working meetings with Dem Dikk Dakar, our technical partner and the dispensary, our logistical health partner.
➣ follow up on the administrative procedures to obtain our accreditation; working meetings; port and customs procedures.
➣ workshops for the transformation of local cereals with Mrs. SY (former excision practitioner), solutions generating revenues.
➣ meeting with Omar SY who is supporting our fight; presentation of the project for future publicity operations in the Radisson’s
Our film of the draft project :
Our YouTube channel :