As part of the cooperation between Morocco and Senegal and its actions with communities across the African continent, the Foundation of the Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP) supports a sustainable development project for the benefit of the National Park of Niokolo Koba, located in the south-east of the country, 650 km from Dakar, in the Tambacounda region, announces the group in a press release.
A reservoir of faunal and floristic biodiversity, the Niokolo Koba Park is subject, on the part of the populations of the 17 municipalities that surround it, to strong constraints with devastating effects on its natural resources and in particular on water, thus justifying its integration since 2007 in the red list of sites in danger of UNESCO.
“It is in this context that the OCP Foundation has developed a real partnership with the Ministry of the Environment, Sustainable Development and Ecological Transition of Senegal in order to reduce the pressure on the park and its resources. Started in 2021, for a period of 3 years, the project aims to support the Direction des Parcs Nationaux (DPN) on three complementary aspects: (i) control of the quality of the water in the park – through the granting materials and capacity building for executives and agents, (ii) empowerment of local populations through the creation of income-generating activities for women, as well as (iii) community sensitization, particularly young people, as for the preservation of the Environment for the well-being of generations”, underlines the press release.
As part of the first component, the OCP Foundation relied on the expertise of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Morocco, to provide a training cycle on water quality control, adds the same source stating that a capacity building program for executives and agents of the ministry has been developed and, to date, 24 executives and agents have already benefited from training in this area”.
“In addition, the OCP Foundation has made available to the DPN a water quality analysis device consisting of a mobile laboratory, 2 pickups and 6 motorcycles, and equipped with analysis kits for the monitoring the quality of groundwater and surface water”, we continue from the same source. “Thus, all along the Gambia River which runs through the park and which extends for almost 250 km, the park authorities are able to have a better water quality monitoring plan available and can undertake corrective measures in time”, underlines the text.
“In terms of empowering local populations, the partnership has enabled the implementation of an agro-ecological project based on efficient management of natural resources and allowing local communities to access new sources of income, gradually reducing the pressure on the resources of the park, ”it is added. Indeed, by using clean energy for pumping and rational use of water, the women’s cooperatives benefiting from the project are able to sustainably increase agricultural yields and ensure the food and nutritional security of their homes.
The same source indicates that a community diagnostic mission has, in this context, been organized in partnership with the
UM6P’s Cooplab in February 2022 to assess the needs of communities in terms of support for income creation. At its end, 50 women were able to benefit from a capacity building program.
Regarding the last part of the partnership, the partners will soon mobilize to support a “Caravan of Ambassadors” which will criss-cross the 17 municipalities bordering the park to raise awareness of local populations on issues related to the environment, notes the press release.
He recalls that this project around the Niokolo Koba National Park was the first of a series of initiatives launched by the OCP Foundation and the Ministry of the Environment, Sustainable Development and Ecological Transition of Senegal in favor of the preservation of natural heritage and community development in the country.
“Since 2022, two other initiatives have also been deployed in Senegal: a project aimed at supporting the Marine Protected Area of Joal Fadiouth, in collaboration with the Direction des Aires Marines Communautaires Protégées (DAMCP) which will contribute to the promotion of a inclusive economic and social development of local communities and improved conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity in and around the marine area; and a cooperation project with the Senegalese Agency for Reforestation and the Great Green Wall “ASERGMV” for the fight against the advance of the desert, sustainable management of natural resources and the development of Saharo-Sahelian areas.
“Through these initiatives, the OCP Foundation fully inscribes its actions within the framework of the sustainable development objectives, namely: the preservation of the environment and of fauna and flora biodiversity and is mobilizing for a better future in Africa”, indicates the communicated.