Asambleas Ciudadanos


the Sahel Saharan Citizens' Assembly



Prime movers’ methodological training session

Translations : français . Español . English


Throughout the traveling assemblies carried out during the two stages of the caravan which visited Mauritania and northern Senegal, various meetings allowed for the selection of human resources which would become the local links with the processes to be implemented. We nonetheless thought it appropriate to take a pause during the caravan and help this group to better understand the citizens’ assemblies’ methodology as well as get the instruments and methods ready so as to prepare for the 2010 Aioun Assembly. Within this framework, this training session, which took place at the Nouakchott Olympic Complex Hotel from November 06 to 08, 2009, gathered representatives from all of these cities: Aioun, Kiffa, Aleg, Kaedi, Kanel, Podor and Nouakchott. Our colleagues from Saint Louis and Ourossogui could not attend because one of them had lost their identity card and the other one had to take care of some professional issues. The work brought about very positive results, thanks to which the participants renewed their commitment to the idea of Citizens’ Assemblies and to spear no efforts towards its success.

1. Citizens’ Assemblies’ Ethics and Values

The presentation - carried out about the process of the citizens’ assemblies started by the FPH and consequence of a long history marked by decisive stages - enabled a better understanding of the challenges and dares, as well as the answers and proposals to be contributed and created in order to achieve the desired social changes. The participants participated openly during the debates, from their own experience and individual and collective view of these ideas which they saw as innovative.

2. Valuing the experience

Local actors’ experiences were exchanged, and achievements should be given value within the assemblies’ framework. The following topics have been specifically pointed out:

  • All the citizens’ commitment to the process
  • The overcoming of differences and separating favoritism
  • The construction of unity from diversity
  • The articulation and integration between various innovations
  • Putting forward proposals for the primary challenges to be identified
  • The chance to let everyone speak up, especially those who could not do so or had little chance to do it
  • The search for synergy between the actions performed in all areas
  • The capitalization of experiences in knowledge
  • The transversality of the visions and the process with the need to produce exchanges and actions in this sense
  • The information shared widely through the Internet in order to better articulate the various experiences
  • The use of the Assemblies’ Website to obtain a global vision of the process in all parts of the world
  • The cartography of the cities and a planning of the actions taken for more elaborate methods
  • The definition of the main topics around which the debates will center and upon which proposals will be made.

3. Identified and selected topics

1. Democracy, Governance and Citizen Responsibility

  • What sort of political, economic and social governance capable of ensuring the best management of the countries by means of a solid and real citizen responsibility should be sought
  • Which should be the attitudes of the Sahel-Saharan citizens towards the breadth of sustainable development challenges that they face
  • What sort of participative democracy should be stimulated within a plural and diverse framework for a better social cohesion
  • How to distribute national wealth to strengthen and favor social justice and equality for citizens from all areas
  • How to involve citizens in issues connected with their cities by their own choice

3.2. Traditional communication (regional integration and common heritage re-valuing factor)

  • orality as a social relations vector, verbal rendering of knowledge through centuries of a common history in the Sahel-Saharan space;
  • Function and location of traditional communities (griot or other) for society’s new expected changes;
  • Contents to be highlighted in traditional communication during the 21 Century;
  • How to make use of the scope of modern mass media (FM Radios and other) for better traditional communication
  • How to ensure a re-writing of the Sahel-Saran history within the Sahel-Saharan Peoples’ Letter framework through the convergence of traditional prime movers’ knowledge and their libraries

3.3. Social transformations and functions of the spiritual guides and religious schools in the development and process of the cities and peoples’ coexistence

  • How to get the spiritual guides (female or male) involved in the emergence of a new citizenship and in the major social transformations
  • How to reinforce plural tolerance and solidarity values amongst the citizens of the Sahel-Saharan area through the contribution of religious men and women
  • How to take advantage of the wisdom acquired in religious schools for the new citizenship insertion

3.4. Women and Sustainable Development: Valuing the knowledge acquired by women on the face of current challenges

  • Women’s historical contribution to the construction and management of ancient cities and to the social, political and cultural transformations of the region;
  • How to implement female trans-national networks to ensure their wider and more time-sustained participation
  • How to face social pressure and the prejudices that prevent women’s autonomy and place limits on the capacities
  • How to enable women to gain access to land ownership and to credit, and thus to develop their own initiatives

3.5. Renewable energies and their impact on agriculture and cattle-raising industrialization in the Sahel-Saharan area

  • How to make sure that the Sahel-Saharan region can take advantage of the production of renewable energies to be developed in the Sahara so as to ensure their energetic autonomy
  • Impacts of trans-national projects on energy supply and distribution (E.g. Organization for the Valuing of the Senegal River - OMVS) and how to take advantage of this to ensure the industrialization of agriculture and cattle-raising, which are the two main economic sources of the region;
  • How to perverse a healthy and livable environment in the Sahel-Saharan space by using non-pollutant energies
  • How the use of renewable energies will develop the installation of sanitary and school facilities in the region.

3.6. Types of teachings for Sahel-Saharan youth, adapted to local contexts and decent job suppliers

  • Launching an education reform through the general education states, which may allow to achieve forms of teachings adapted to the economies and to the market of the region
  • Reinforcing girls’ schooling and the length of school courses to fight against school drop-outs and early marriages

3.7. Peoples’ Migrations and Movements due to climatic change and poverty in the region

  • People’s movements within the Sahel – Saharan space (seasonal migration of livestock, rural exodus)
  • Shared zones, exchange and solidarity spaces
  • Influence of the weather and of poverty on people’s migrations
  • Impacts of migration outside the Sahel – Saharan area on the development of the region.







Pictures of the first citizens' caravan in Mauritania

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