Start from the youth: engine for local development and conscious migration project
This three-year multi-partner initiative  aimed to improve the socio-economic conditions of the young population between 15 to 35 years old living in Sedhiou, Kolda (Senegal), and Gabu (Guinea Bissau). These areas represent the main basin of migratory flows in West Africa. This mission was accomplished by developing the beneficiaries’ local economic knowledge and professional skills. Specifically, the project aimed to strengthen community knowledge and awareness of the political context related to the migratory flows in the Sedhiou – Kolda – Gabu corridor while facilitating the socio-economic development processes in rural areas for a sustainable economic and social growth to improve the youth employment situation, and the reintegration of returning migrants.
The Foundation directly contributed to this shared goal by:
- Setting up three computers hubs
- Training the first group of teachers in each location
- Proposing free basic and advanced computer courses for more than 1,300 students
According to the external audit report the Foundation received at the end of this long and challenging journey, the impacts and results achieved are highly encouraging.
According to the document, the educational activities that we contributed to enrich with our DU Courses succeeded in triggering a lasting change in the behavior of young people, returning migrants, and their families. The three hubs and the proposed computer courses allowed the beneficiaries to develop technical skills that were essential to finding a job or creating one in the labor market. Through the digitalization process we initiated, communities were supported in becoming familiar with previously inaccessible IT tools.
 The partners of the initiative were: ACRA Foundation, Mani Tese, AFDEC (Association pour la Formation, le Développement, l’Education et la Culture), Association GUNE de Kolda (Senegal), Plataforma das ONGs e associações de base da Região de Gabú (Guinea Bissau), Agence Régionale de Développement de Kolda, Agence Régionale de Développement de Sédhiou, University of Milan Bicocca, Municipality of Milan and Stretta di Mano Association
The areas where the Foundation worked for over three years were suffering from limited economic and educational opportunities for the young generation. Therefore, denying the younger generation the chance to be better prepared for the existing labor market. Through the proposed DU courses, the organization was able to contribute to closing this gap in infrastructure and competencies. Moreover, the courses also initiated a change in this younger generation’s entrepreneurial attitude. They helped instill a spirit of initiative in our students, giving them the basis for a “business” culture that was and is still fragile in these intervention areas. Many beneficiaries have started a family business, while others have managed to reintegrate themselves actively into their communities.
The recognition of the value of the DU Program encourages us to continue on this path, as it seems to be the right one. The direction always remains to minimize the digital divide effects and give people living in challenging socio-economic environments the chance to build a better life.
And on this note, let’s read what one of our teachers tells us about his experience in this project!
“I was born and raised in Sedhiou. After completing my studies in Dakar, I returned to my region as a teacher in basic computer science at the hub of Enfance et Paix. I have collaborated with the project’s partners to launch computer initiation courses for young people in my region. We trained more than 600 young people with different profiles throughout a period of two years. Our main goal was to provide students with computer skills to facilitate their social and professional integration. The truth is that we live in a world where technology plays a vital role, and not knowing how to use a computer becomes a form of illiteracy. I hope that now that we have started this project, my country’s young men and women will be increasingly interested in training and improving their knowledge in the technological field. These competencies open the door to personal success and new professional opportunities in the digital economy “.
Lamintheir e Lô, teacher at Enfance et Paix DU Lab, Sedhiou, Senegal