Vallès Occidental (Spain)-Missirah (Senegal) | Before eating, I wash my hands

28 octubre 2022

For the third time, the PLATFORMAwards will put under the spotlights the best practices in city-to-city and region-to-region development cooperation. 8 projects have been shortlisted out of 18 applications. Everyday, we are presenting you two of them (sorted by alphabetical order). The 3 finalists will receive their trophies at the ceremony in Grenoble (France) on 6 December.

Discover how Vallès Occidental in Spain is presenting its partnership with Missirah in Senegal:

One of the main objectives of the project «Avant de manger, je me lave les mains» has been the generation and consolidation of awareness among the children of the initial educational cycle of the country’s school map (CEI), that washing hands at any time, but especially always before eating, can prevent many infectious diseases of a digestive and respiratory nature and, therefore, many health problems.

This message is worked with absolute respect for the cultural habits of this community through professional and pedagogical participation of an inclusive nature. The basis has been the development of an agenda of activities and complementary materials whose main objective has been the workshops and games in the classrooms from where the message has been emphasised and the children of Missirah, aged between 6 and 8 years, have been reminded that these infectious diseases are mainly generated when hands are not washed before ingesting food. The message also reaches families, the education community and local actors.

As a second objective, but no less important, the project includes the development of measures aimed at strengthening the individual and organisational capacities of people and organisations in the territory. In this sense, we have worked to support the improvement of those competences that, taking into account the organisational, social and cultural reality of the area, contribute to the improvement of the competences of the community to respond to the main needs of the people.

The scope of work for all purposes has been the rural community of Missirah. This locality is located in the southeast of Senegal in the Tambacounda region, 33 kilometers from the city (administrative head) that gives the same name to this Government Department. It has a population of approximately 35,000 inhabitants throughout its rural community and is located on the road to Kédougou on the country’s N-7 road at a distance of 500 kilometers from the capital (Dakar). Missirah is purely rural in character, with people mainly engaged in agriculture and livestock rearing.

Traditionally, since the 1980s it has been a community where many people have been driven by the phenomenon of immigration to mainly European countries. Lately, Missirah has also become an important area of cross-border trafficking with the neighbouring state of Mali.

Specifically, the project has been developed in schools in the towns of Missirah, Bambadinka, Madialy and Diabougou.

The groups targeted by this project are:

  • Girls and boys of the first cycle of infant education in Missirah (CEI), approximately 400 boys and girls distributed in six schools.
  • The families of the children who have participated in the activities.
  • The educational community (teachers) and volunteers who have acted as agents of change and transformation through proximity and permanent action.
  • Local agents and community groups present in the territory.

The «Avant manger, je me lavé les mains» project is based on the technical cooperation model and has included the participation of various professionals from the Vallès Occidental County Council as agents of cooperation, transformation and change.

This form of regional cooperation brings to the project the resources, knowledge and skills available to the organisation and promotes knowledge and transformative analysis of other realities from a local perspective in order to achieve a change in attitudes and practices.

The technical and especially organisational solutions that have been reached everywhere with this form of cooperation can be of mutual interest and use, which truly places cooperation in a relationship between «equals». This factor makes cooperation attractive, but above all it tries to break out of the charitable, sometimes welfare-oriented and dependency-based paradigm in which international solidarity has been embedded for many years.

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