Supporting the local population
The GCO industrial mining project is part of the Senegalese government’s “Grande Côte Regional Development Project” (PDR-GC). To recover the mineral sands, dredging operations need to be performed along a hundred-kilometer stretch of land split between the administrative regions of Thiès and Louga, specifically in the towns of Darou Khoudoss, Kab Gaye, Thieppe, Diokoul Diawrigne, and Méouane. These operations mean that a number of villages have to be relocated: a sensitive undertaking that requires careful support and supervision, in constant contact with those affected.
Support and community dialog
That was the idea behind the Resettlement Action Plan (PAR), which was developed in 2011 and revised in 2016 under the authority of the Departmental Resettlement Commission (CDR), led by the Prefect of Tivaouane, the Sub-Prefect of Meouane, and the Mayor of Darou Khoudoss.
The PAR has one clear objective: to ensure that all those affected by the project are compensated fairly for their losses. In other words, support should be provided to local people to help them improve or at least maintain their income levels and living conditions. To develop a consensus-based resettlement plan, the communities were closely involved in defining how the resettlement process would take place. Respectful dialog was conducted with all stakeholders.
New infrastructure and economic and social support
In 2016, 35 families from seven hamlets were resettled under a partnership with Senegal’s National Ecovillage Agency (ANEV). This ecovillage concept has tangibly improved the living conditions of local people. Residents now enjoy basic community infrastructure: a mosque, a health clinic, a primary school, a well, solar energy, a livestock trail, and farmland to restore their livelihoods.
In 2019, GCO delivered the new village of Foth, where 85 families (630 people) now reside. New economic and community activities have helped the families improve their livelihoods. In accordance with international standards, replacement land of similar size or production capacity to the original land has been provided near the new village. These plots have been supplied with irrigation equipment. The farmers, meanwhile, have received seeds, fertilizer, and financial support to help them get back to work. They have also received technical training from agronomists, which has helped them improve their yield per hectare.
Other resettlement operations are in progress in 2021. Some families prefer to be temporarily rehoused before returning to their original hamlets, while others choose to be relocated to a new site.
These operations are performed by our CSR team in accordance with the highest standards. Collaboration and cooperation with local authorities and neighboring communities have yielded the following results:
- All resettlement homes and community infrastructure are powered by solar energy and supplied with drinking water
- Affected individuals have had their livelihoods adequately restored
- Replacement farmland has been developed for those affected
- Seeds and fertilizer are provided, as well as water for irrigation.
Developing new opportunities with EIGs
During the pre-consultation process, some residents stated that they were interested in receiving support to develop new economic activities. To ensure these activities are profitable, GCO has helped create twenty Economic Interest Groups (EIGs), along with a standing loan to help them generate income. In all, nearly 1,000 people (more than half of them women) have benefited from the opportunities afforded by these groups. The activities are varied and include market gardening, the sale of farm inputs or basic foodstuffs, and cattle, sheep, and goat fattening. To improve their skills, these groups can also receive training in administration, accounting, and other subjects.