Asambleas Ciudadanos


the Sahel Saharan Citizens' Assembly



Towards a second traveling caravan heading to Senegal

Translations : français . Español . English

The Sahel-Saharan assembly is getting its second citizens’ caravan ready, and heading to Senegal. Sidiki Abdoul Daff (Popular Research Center for Citizen Action - Senegal) and Mamadou Niang have just established the itinerary and expect to get a start by the middle of May, 2009. Mauritania-Senegal border cities such as Podor, Matam, Bakel, and probably Saint Louis, in the north, capital of Mauritana before the western African independence, have been chosen mainly.

In the meantime, Mamadou Niang and his team are assessing their first trip to Aioun, in the east of Mauritania, from the notes, exchanges and audiovisual tapes obtained during the debates. Each of this first caravan’s stage allowed us to have an idea of the problems experienced by those peoples and to identify the human resources that could take part in the assembly on the long run. “This assessment is significant because it will allow to account for the debates that we have had with the communities. We will soon pass it on to our local contacts and we will be able to share it with the other assemblies as well” points out Mamadou.

Many young people, students, teachers, as well as religious leaders who are particularly open and mobilized, have taken part in the debates. The mayor of the city of Aioun seemed to be very interested and wishes to get involved in the running of the Sahel-Saharan assembly. «These meetings managed to free the inhabitants’ words» stresses Mamadou. The issues dealt with are related to the condition of the environment, access to electricity, water and land, health and sanitary structures, education, land management, women’s role in development, access to credit, nomad peoples’ precariousness. The following is unanimously confirmed : rarely does anyone come here to speak about these key issues with the citizens and the peoples. It is also very rare that the central administrative powers can move away from the administrative sphere and listen to the inhabitants. The synthesis of the debates is in its final writing stage and it will provide further details about all of these elements.

The idea of a methodological training is slowly coming up within the assembly’s coordination team. This training aims at strengthening the group of human resources through a deep analysis of the assembly’s objectives and visions, and by means of the « professionalization » of the work methods. This should be implemented after May, and it will revolve around certain strategic axis, namely :

  • the socio-professional framework of the debate and the construction of common perspectives between the various media ;
  • the enlargement of the mobilized actors within the assembly ;
  • the registry and restitution of collective debates.

The 2010 Sahel-Saharan Assembly can already be envisioned in the horizon. It should be held in August, 2010 in the Mauritanian city of Ayoun, geo-cultural center and historical bridge of the exchanges which linked the peoples of the region through the centuries.







Pictures of the first citizens' caravan in Mauritania

Selection of images of the 1st caravan organized towards Aioun in Mauritania in February 2009