Joining forces to increase flood resilience in Senegal

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

In Senegal, Practical Action has teamed up with the Senegalese Red Cross to improve the quality and effectiveness of interventions to assist flood-prone communities in Thiès-Nord. A recent workshop, facilitated by both organizations, provided an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved so far, and to plan for the future.

Since 2021, Practical Action and the Senegalese Red Cross have each been undertaking their own community-based initiatives to address the issue of flooding in the Thies region of Senegal. Both initiatives have a common goal, and are pursuing a similar vision of resilience. As a result, they have established a partnership that ensures that each appoach compliments the other, allowing both organizations to respond more effectively to community concerns. 

This collaboration resulted in the co-construction of a six-month action plan, covering June to December 2022. As part of the plan’s implementation process, the two organizations held a workshop in Thiès to identify lessons and improve future planning. 

Workshop opening chaired by Mr. Sy (Deputy Prefect of Thiès), Mr. Kone (representative of the DPGI), Mr. Dembélé (Deputy Mayor of Thiès), and Mr. Gueye (Secretary General of Red Cross Thiès). Photo: Prodivis

Two complimentary approaches

The workshop was chaired by the Deputy Prefect of Thiès, representative of the mayor and representative of the Minister of Water and Sanitation (DPGI), who welcomed all participants and expressed their satisfaction with the collaboration of the two organizations in strengthening the resilience of communities to flooding.

Alioune Ndiaye, Practical Action’s Climate Resilience Project Manager, was the first to present to the workshop. His focus was on the main solutions proposed by the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance through the regional portal, the Post-Event Review Capability (PERC) methodology and the Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC). An overview of various components of Practical Action’s intervention plan – co-constructed with communities and key partners at the local level – was discussed, along with perspectives on complementary funding.

Alioune Ndiaye. Climate Resilience Project Manager, provides an update on Practical Action’s flood prevention work in Senegal. Photo: Prodivis

The Senegalese Red Cross, represented by Mr. Abdou Khadre Thioune, then presented their risk resilience program. It highlighted several activities across 20 localities, including the training of volunteers and activities related to gutter-cleaning and improving sanitary conditions in emergency situations caused by floods.

Effective collaboration, avoiding duplication

A presentation on the co-construction and implementation of the joint action plan and assessment of activities was made by Idrissa Diene, Climate Resilience Advisor for Practical Action. This provided an update on the plan, and showed the appeal of collaborating through the delivery of complementary activities: flood prevention and readiness under Practical Action, and recovery and response under the Red Cross.

An assessment of the different activities and achievements before, during and after the floods was presented through a video. The next stage looked forward to the renewal of the partnership for another year, and collaborations in the development of proposals for securing funds in order to better support communities.

Idrissa Diene, Practical Action’s Climate Resilience Advisor, provides an update on the implementation of the joint action plan between Practical Action and the Senegalese Red Cross. Photo: Prodivis

What’s next?

The workshop also explored ways in which progress towards flood resilience can be further improved. For example, an early warning system office has been set up in each of the four districts to share weather alerts from the National Agency for Civil Aviation and Meteorology (ANACIM) in a WhatsApp group. The objective is to improve this process by collaborating with a structure such as Jokalanté, using voice messages and community radios.

It was also identified that there is room for improvement in the involvement of technical services in the the development of the Red Cross resilience program, particularly in the districts of Tivaouane and Thiès. However, there are plans in place to address this as part of the program’s expansion.

Taking stock

To close up this day of reflection, the participants divided in three groups to discuss the actions carried out, lessons learned and perspectives on the collaboration. The results highlighted the benefits of the partnership between Practical Action and the Senegalese Red Cross, while stakeholders also had the opportunity to propose further improvements, such as strengthening community capacity on the use of equipment, planning earlier cleaning activities, and ensuring that all neighbourhoods in the intervention zone are reached with food donations and dignity kits in the event of an emergency.

A working group discussing actions and perspectives of the collaboration between Practical Action and the Red Cross. Photo: Prodivis

To find out more about the work of the Alliance in Senegal, visit our country page.

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