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Valorization of the Mahon forest

This project was designed in close collaboration with local populations to meet their needs.

Several observations are at the origin of this project:

  • 30,000 ha of this forest transformed each year into charcoal (for cooking food corresponds to  more than half of Senegal's production;

  • the bush fires that add to this massive destruction of species (some of which take decades to reproduce) jeopardize an already extremely fragile ecological system;

  • women and girls, who are responsible for the task of collecting firewood, travel greater and greater distances to reach isolated and dangerous areas, thus exposing themselves to attacks and even rape; they have very little time available to engage in lucrative activities that would enable them to improve the daily lives of families.

Thus, in July 2010, the ASPDR (Association of Solidarity for Rural Development) of Kolda in Senegal, in partnership with the association Echange Nord-Sud in France, undertook to accompany the rural communities of Dioulacolon in the management of  the Mahon forest, through decentralized cooperation and with funding from the Aquitaine Regional Council, .

It is a question of contributing to the preservation and the sustainable and participative management of the natural resources of the forest massif by:

  • awareness of local populations

  • the fight against bush fires

  • the promotion of appropriate energy-saving technologies

  • reforestation

Concrete actions carried out in the field

The training of wood carpenters and metal carpenters, described above, makes it possible to create local expertise in  techniques for making and popularizing solar ovens and energy-saving stoves as a substitute/economy of  energy wood.


This local expertise, capable of making and popularizing prototypes adapted (to the different forms of  pots)  and cheap, contributes to introducing reliable and viable alternatives to the excessive harvesting of fuelwood in the forest of  Mahon and  To reduce  thus the impact of deforestation activities and their consequences on  the environment and the life of  neighboring communities.

Many simple tools, such as shovels, rakes, spades, sprayers, were distributed so that the villagers  can prevent and extinguish fires as soon as they start in order to protect the forest from major bush fires.


Encouragement of village chiefs and presidents of rural communities to create vigilance committees capable of explaining the importance of protecting this forest, but also having the authority delegated by the Inspector of Water and Forests to     draw up fines.


Reforestation work undertaken by the Water and Forest Inspectors in collaboration with the populations using "cashew tree" type shrubs effective in creating firewalls which constitute barriers to the spread of bush fires.

Cashew nuts come from the fruit of the cashew tree; solar ovens can be used to dry these nuts for export.


This reforestation work found an almost natural relay with the Scouts of Kolda who organized reforestation operations during their camps.

This project is finally finished. Its financing will have been entirely targeted in concrete operations,  useful and visible and not in operating costs.


The aid to  achievement of  project "solar ovens and efficient stoves"  enabled ENS to play a role of mediator so that dialogue could be renewed between the Water and Forests Office, carpenters and the Regional Chamber of Trades.


Several audit assignments have been scheduled to ensure that the funds entrusted by the Aquitaine Regional Council have been properly targeted to the objectives previously set by consensus between the two partners.


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