Photo: Flurina Rothenberger
The project was initiated and is continously driven by activities, experiences and know-how that the communities in Senegal show in the face of the challenges posed by the annual floodwaters. The impulse for an integrated response to urban flooding initially came from representatives from flood-afflicted areas.
The project has not only been initiated by the communities, but also its implementation is based on a community-based, participatory approach. In community awareness building workshops they will be empowered to undertake an active role in the implementation and maintenance of the infrastructure components and the flood contingency plans. Furthermore, beneficiaries will be involved in the project from the earliest planning stages to the final evaluation to ensure community ownership of the project, contributing to the sustainability of the project.
The project incorporates technological interventions to mitigate the physical effects of flooding whilst also responding to the social and political aspects of the problem. Such an integrated approach is necessary in order to ensure not only successful project implementation but also the sustainability of the project.
The project’s integrated approach relates not only to the way that it combines the infrastructure, policy and capacity building components, but also extends to each individual component. The integrated technological approach combines four interrelated flood-prevention practices and technologies, and the flood contingency plan aims at integrating the different levels of local, regional and national policy.
The integrated infrastructure is based on the special needs of the particular districts. In each neighbourhood, both topographic and geographic analyses and a participative development process with beneficiaries and district stakeholders ensure that the infrastructure interventions are suitable for each district. The use of low technology solutions combined with training for engineers and urban planners from Senegal and other countries in West Africa will make possible the uptake of these integrated infrastructure solutions beyond the project intervention areas.
The project aims to increase the resilience and thus improve quality of life especially of the poorest and most vulnerable people. Women suffer a disproportionate loss of income due to flooding as they are more active in small businesses such as laundry, selling used clothing or house services; moreover women are more affected than men by water-borne diseases. On the other hand, the women are key to creating lasting change and resilience. The project therefore places special emphasis on empowering women to actively participate in resilience building activities prior to disasters caused by climate extremes and to actively respond in case of emergency.