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Mar Lodj, Fatick Region, Senegal, West Africa
Mar Lodj is an isolated village, which can only be reached by boat, located at the mouth of the Sine-Saloum Delta in Senegal. It can be found on the outer edges of the Fatick region, but is more commonly associated with the Petite Côte. It is easily accessible from the capital city, Dakar, by traveling 200 km south along the Atlantic coastline. The nearest major towns, Joal and Mbour, are located 40 km and 70 km north of Mar Lodj.
The local population, mainly comprised of the Seereer ethnic group, totals approximately 1,200. It is an extremely friendly, laid-back, and inviting community.
The village has been able to withstand many of the difficulties that other communities face in Senegal. This has been primarily due to the recently developed eco-tourism activity in the area. Visitors have the opportunity to partake in the region's world-renowned fishing, go hyena watching at sunset, catch a glimpse of the stunning bird species flying over the mangrove-lined passage ways, or simply relax in the privacy of their bungalows. Taking advantage of this extra traffic coming to the village has been one way that the community has been able to increase its commerce activity and quality of life.
The village is also highly educated. The majority of people speak three different languages and thoroughly enjoy worldly discussions. Once again, this is primarily due to the eco-tourism activity, but it also a result of the village stressing higher education.
A final note is that the village is 95% Catholic. This is extremely rare in Senegal, as 97% of the population is Muslim.
With limited opportunities available in such an isolated area, it is of critical importance that eco-tourism continues to strive.
This project is to implement a waste management system in one of Mar Lodj's eight quartiers. The plan provides for the collection of the trash, the separation and disposal of organic waste, and the recycling of plastic and other recyclables.
A first for this village, the project plan has been discussed, reviewed and approved, and implementation has begun.
The first phase was comprised of an educational and community outreach program. Community members were educated in both the direct and indirect benefits that they would receive from having a properly functioning waste management system.
The second phase consisted of the project design and business training. The overall idea behind the project, aside from allowing the community to access the health and economic benefits, is to create a sustainable system where the ownership lies within the community. This has been accomplished by allowing the community to take the lead with the project, and leaving the Peace Corps in more of a facilitating and consulting role.
The next step is the actual implementation of the waste management system. Water Charity funds will go towards the purchase of garbage cans and materials needed for a structure to collect, separate, and properly dispose of the trash.
The garbage cans (50 liters, removable lids, plastic) will be purchased in the capital city of Dakar and transported to Mar Lodj. These cans were specifically chosen because of their price, durability, and availability. Each compound, typically consisting of ten people, will receive one garbage can.
The structure to collect, separate, and properly dispose of the trash will be located 100 meters outside of the village in an area of land that was donated by the community. It will be 25 cubic meters and stand tall enough to keep animals and young children out of the structure. The dimensions were carefully thought out by considering the amount of trash that will be collected, the type of trash that will be collected, the unpredictable wet and windy weather conditions, and the cost of the materials needed to build the structure.
With Mar Lodj being an isolated island community, all of the materials will need to be purchased in a neighboring town and brought to Mar Lodj using pirogue boats and horse-drawn carriages.
The women's group of Mar Lodj, G.I.E. Sassang Senegal, has already organized a community clean-up to take place when the system is in place. They will continue to organize monthly clean-ups in an effort to keep the village as clean as possible. Each compound will be responsible for transporting their garbage to the collection point once a week.
With the collection point relatively close to the village, no-one will need to travel further than 200 meters. This will also eliminate the extra costs associated with someone having to visit each compound and collect the trash. The community has set up a system so that every week different compounds are in charge of the proper disposal of the trash. This includes transporting plastics to the nearby city of Joal.
The fourth, and final stage of the project, will consist of follow-up interviews and data collection. This will allow the community of Mar Lodj, Peace Corps Senegal, and Appropriate Projects to assess their impact, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
224 people will benefit from this project.
Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
The implementation of a waste management system in Mar Lodj will help to promote eco-tourism, create jobs, and improve the health and overall quality of life in the community.
Dollar Amount of Project
Donations Collected to Date
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Donations of any amount will be appreciated. The full amount will give you "naming rights", if that is something you would like.
Any contributions in excess of the Dollar Amount of Project will be allocated to other projects directed by this PCV and/or projects of other PCVs in this country.
Dollar Amount Needed
This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.
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