Dakar Applied Research and Training Program
Youth are a vibrant and growing force in West Africa. As they develop new and creative solutions to the challenges facing their countries and their communities, they need practical skills to build and sustain organizations. The Dakar American Applied Research and Training (DAART) will draw on the considerable wealth of academic and practical knowledge accumulated by US and West African scholars and activists to reinforce the capacity of youth leadership, community activism, and entrepreneurship. Created with the financial support of the US Embassy in Dakar, DAART is a project of the West African Research Center and Association.
DAART Closing Ceremony
Closing ceremony for the DAART fellows’ Training Session(WARC, June 1 – July 31, 2012)
In his speech, His Excellency Ambassador Lewis Lukens said that he was impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm of youth in West Africa as illustrated by the DAART
fellows and their projects. Now that the training is complete, fellows will begin the implementation of their projects in their respective countries. The ambassador pledged his continuing support to those youths as per the recommendations of the Obama Administration. We expect that these expressions of support will be echoed tomorrow when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives her Dakar speech in the grand amphitheater of University
Although the project’s initial title was “West Africa Youth Entrepreneurship and Civic Awareness,” it has, over time, assumed the name of the center which will soon be operating from WARC as a result of the US State department funding: The Dakar American Applied Research Training Center (DAART).
Prior to the Ambassador’s statement, the academic coordinator of the DAART project, Professor Eugenie Rokhaya Aw and the project and WARC director, Dr. Ousmane Sene, took the floor to praise the DAART initiative and to emphasize the signaled commitment of the 11 fellows from Togo, Niger, Guinea-Conakry, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso.
The ceremony was extensively covered by the local print and electronic media.
DAART Opening Ceremony
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Thursday was the formal inauguration ceremony for the DAART program, which brings together eleven young leaders from throughout the region for two months of capacity building training and workshops. Selected from some one hundred applicants, these young leaders are engaged in the realization of a range of projects aimed at improving their communities. During their two-month training program, they will have hands-on workshops on developing and using social media for change; financial management; proposal writing and development; technology tools; gender analysis; and evaluation theories and techniques. Having begun their work together the week of June 4th, the group has already developed a sense of community based on their common, if varied, interests and objectives. The eleven DAART fellows hail from Senegal (5), Togo (1), Cape Verde (1), Burkina Faso (1), Niger (2), and Guinea (1).
After welcoming remarks from Professor Mbye Cham, president of the WARA board of directors, the WARA and WARC Directors congratulated the participants on being selected as DAART Fellows and on their exceptional engagement and commitment to a building a better world. It is, noted Jennifer Yanco, the director of WARA, most appropriate that WARC and WARA have the opportunity to make some of their accumulated knowledge and know-how available to the leaders of tomorrow through the DAART Program. Kristin Stewart, representing the US Embassy in Dakar, which has provided generous funding for this program, spoke of the close relationship of confidence that exists between WARA and WARC and the US Embassy and noted the excitement existing around this innovative program. Offering words of welcome on behalf of the DAART Steering Committee was Samira Keita, one of four young leaders who selected the eleven participants from among 100 applicants and laid out the outlines of the program.
After the introductory remarks, each of the DAART fellows presented her or his project and shared some of the high points of working together as a group. Given the range of projects represented by the eleven fellows, this was an intriguing presentation that convinced all of us once again that the DAART program is a much-needed support for social change.
Following the presentations, the group retired to the out-of-doors where architect Annie Jouga presented the plans for the extension that will expand the available space at WARC to accommodate the growing demand and that will also house an ‘American Corner’ once the embassy moves to its new facilities.
After professors Cham and Sene, aided by the masonry of Dr. Yanco, laid the cornerstone for the extension, guests and fellows took advantage of a lunch reception to exchange experiences.
The DART Project kicks off at WARC
On March 16 & 17, the West African Research Center in Dakar, Senegal hosted the first meeting of the Steering Committee for the Dakar Applied Research Training Program (DART). DART is a project funded through a grant from the US Embassy. The project will provide support to the efforts of exceptional young leaders in the region.
At this meeting the committee reviewed some 100 applications from which they selected 11 participants for the two-month training program that will take place this summer at WARC. Selected participants come from a range of countries in West Africa, including Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Cape Verde, Togo, and Cote d’Ivoire, and include groups working in the arts, environment, agriculture, women’s issues, and the rights of marginalized groups. The training will focus on strengthening new technology skills, preparing grant proposals, project management, civic engagement, financial management, marketing, communications, and English language skills. Over the course of the training, each of the 11 participants will prepare a business proposal for his or her organization, and all will be eligible to receive funding to implement the proposal following the training.
The DART project training will take place at WARC in June and July. The project, which also includes an extension of the main WARC building to house the project, as well as improvements in its library, is made possible thanks to a grant from the United States Embassy in Senegal.
DART Selected Candidates
|1||Ahmadou Sall||Federation Nationale des Albinos au Senegal (Albinos)
This organization seeks to address issues of albinos in Senegal on many fronts. They teach albinos about skin cancer, to take care of their skin using specific products, with the help local and international dermatologists they organize spaces for albinos to feel accepted because they are often shunned in society for being different. They also support albinos who live in the street because the sun is dangerous for them. They teach communities to accept them and understand their conditions.
|2||Mohamed Sylla||Groupe Image et Vie
Groupe Image et Vie seeks to promote Senegalese and African culture both traditional and contemporary, locally and abroad. They promote pride in Senegalese culture through visual arts (painting, photography, dance, theater, and cinema) and music. They promote the work of local up-and-coming artists, teach contemporary artists to use modern technology to promote themselves and improve their work, and teach local youth in their communities about African art history.
|3||Gérémy Kaly Bianquinch||l’Association Nationale des Elèves et Etudiants Bassari (ANEEB)
ANEFB is comprised of students who are organizing around the difficulties of being a student of Bassari origin in Dakar and in Senegal today. By organizing, they are giving themselves political weight and making their issues known. They are working together to create a community and providing support for each other. This organization is simultaneously promoting Bassari culture and preserving it.
|4||Abibatou Banda Fall||Amigos de Doñana
Amigos de Donana borrows its organizational structure and mission from the a group of the same name in Spain, which organized an environmental mission to preserve and study issues in Senegal. The community, especially the students in the area who participated in the mission, decided to continue the work. They seek to do scientific research on environmental issues in the region of Saint Louis and to educate the community–both young and old–about the preserving nature. So far, they have been organizing around the effects of deforestation and the many uses of cow dung. They seek resources to grow their mission to include more environmentally related community issues and to learn new methods of disseminating their message.
|5||Touwendida Zongo||Journal Mutations
Mutations was created by a group of students at the suggestion of a journalism professor. They were reading journals from their perspective; the journals they were reading did not have a critical analysis of youth culture nor did the news examine how national issues were really affecting the youth. They pooled their efforts and resources to create this journal that makes the voices of young people heard and that examines the issues that plague youth culture in Burkina Faso.
|6||Fatima Camara||Cadre de Concentration des filles/femmes des partis politiques de Guinee
This organization’s mission is to include women and girls in conversation about politics in Guinea. They organize discussions and political debate for women to familiarize themselves with the system of politics so that they may be better qualified to run and organize politically. This organization focuses its attention on female politicians in West Africa. They hope that by supporting female politicians, they can keep them honest, have their voices heard, and begin to even out the playing field between male and female politicians.
|7||Zakari Hassane||Association Potentiel Terre
Potential Terre is an organization to that seeks to use fertile land in Niger for creating a base for agricultural revival. They have done their research,and with a background in agronomy, the members of this organization are prepared to rehydrate potentially fertile land, to employ youth to work and learn about the potential of the land , and to create a local food economy that is sustainable. This work will benefit Niger in many ways, and they hope to fight against youth unemployment, reduce youth related violence, and create a future of adults who are conscious of the potential of the land.
|8||Neves Selma||Renaissance Africaine- Association des Femmes de l’Afrique de l’Ouest
Cellule Cap Vert (RAAMAO)
Renaissance Africaine – Association des Femmes d’Afrique d’Ouest is a feminist organization whose purpose is to create a space for women to advance in society. Their goals are to gather their members around their interests and values to promote economic, social, and cultural development in Cape Verde for women. They aim to mobilize women of this generation to solve their own problems, fighting for better education, and against poverty, discrimination and violence against women in all its forms. They support the women of Cape Verde in reaching reach positions of responsibility and growth. They have already begun to establish and develop cooperative relations and exchanges with similar organizations, national and foreign.
|9||Paylo Da-Do Yram||Sève-Togo
La Seve- Togo is an organization formed out of the need to support students in the Lome, Togo community where there are high levels of school dropout rates. This organization seeks to provide financial support for students who would otherwise have to leave school. They organize academic camps to keep students from regressing during the summer vacation. In their program they also teach social awareness, the rights of individuals especially those of women, and the importance of community involvement.
|10||Adidjangnimou Evariste Aohoui||Programme Assainissement –Recyclage Ordures (PARO)
PARO is an organization that works in the environmental field, more specifically in recycling. They teach about pollution and recycling. They employ youth to clean up their communities and to recycle; in turn the youth develop a sense of investment in the community and take ownership of the work by keeping their neighborhoods clean. They believe that this is only the beginning, that this investment will manifests itself in mobilizing youth around other issues in their neighborhoods. They hope to grow their organization to disseminate their message more effectively, to allow their community to have environmentally safe products, and to teach community awareness.
|11||Abdoul Rachid Mamadou Kollo||Association des Jeunes COFRAIR
COFRAIR is a youth organization comprised of musicians and artists who are attempting to create a positive and progressive hip hop culture in West Africa. Their objective is to create music that teaches young people about the issues that plague Niger such as HIV / AIDS, illiteracy, delinquency , pollution, racism, and sexism. They have partnered with other organizations to teach West African rappers about these issues and they have organized a rap festival where all of the rappers write , record, and perform songs that have to do with these issues. COFRAIR hopes that rather than singing the useless lyrics of American rappers, that they will proudly rap the progressive lyrics of West African rappers and that they will use the knowledge wisely.