Our Environment, our Engagement

In the second part of the project “De-plastify your life!” from May 7 to May 21, 2016, the same young adults from Senegal, France, Germany and the Netherlands met in the southern Senegal city of Ziguinchor. Following the motto “Palaver Square – Our Environment, Our Commitment”, the participants freed the space from the garbage with the local residents and turned it into a place à palabre – a common place. This building project was inspired by the original form of the conflict resolution of the region. Under the “l’arbre à palabre”, the palaver tree, the inhabitants gathered and discussed before they found a consensus. There was a basketball court, framed by games of old car tires and wooden benches.

Background for the project in the city of Ziguinchor is the massive pollution caused by plastic bags through the immediately adjacent market in the district of Boucotte-Kulumba. Although the plastic bag ban was introduced in Senegal in January 2016, the ultra-bright colorful bags continue to shape the streets of the city. In addition to the “palaver-place” project, the project participants show creative alternatives to the manufacture of bags and traditional calendars (dried gourds), which can be implemented in a large demonstration train on the market. In nearby schools, they gave the students a playful way of assessing the health risks of plastic waste and the dangers to the environment.

The closing ceremony included an inauguration ceremony with Urban Rap, the traditional Senegal wrestling, a Calebassen catwalk, a string play of the Xalam and acoustic sounds of the Casamance orchestra. An estimated three hundred people pursued the acrobatics and bounced enthusiastically into the square. The inauguration was perfect.

Hajusom e.V. (Hamburg)
REESO reseau d´echange, d´entraide, solidaire et organise (Epinay-sur-Seine, Il-de-France/Paris)
ASC-Kulumba Association Sportive et Culturelle (Ziguinchor/Senegal)
Havelar’s Engaged Youth (HEY!) (Amsterdam)

photography copyright niculai constantinescu

Funded by: DFJW, the city of Hamburg (Behörde für Arbeit, Soziales, Familie und Integration), the foundation Robert Bosch / On y va!