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Cooperation and Connection: My Experience as a CESO Advisor in Senegal

CESO Communications February 23, 2021

The following was written by CESO Advisor Philippe Euzhan Régis.

Journal account of my experience

The main objective of the CESO assignment was to carry out a feasibility study on Wi-Fi connectivity. Several strategic sites were studied iteratively to promote the autonomy and development of the community of Kédougou, Senegal.

Both phases of the Senegal assignment I completed in 2019 were organized quite well. All the paperwork we did prior to the mission was to the benefit of the assignment we would complete in the field. The Mayor’s Office and the local partner were aware of the main needs they had concerning their people. They took care of gender equity when they mobilized the resources during the activities.

When I arrived in Senegal, I was welcomed by CESO’s local country representatives. They debriefed me on the partners I would be working with, as well as the modality and connectivity between Dakar and Kédougou. I was also told who would be my partner representative on-site. After I arrived in Kédougou , I immediately started working on the project in a collaborative way with the Mayor’s Office of Kédougou . We visited the working site that was our focus for accessibility and connectivity. That being said, most of our project meetings took place in the City Hall of Kédougou.

Impact of the Assignment

The Mayor’s Office was the main contributor to the project. In a co-creation, dynamic way, they were responsible for both phases of the project.

In the first phase of the project, a work guide, a model  of the telecommunication solution, and a procurement and deployment plan were created. In the second phase of the project, the focus was more on the operative and logistic side of the assignment. We completed several activities to formalize the timeframe and integration of the project, staying within budget in terms of financing and engineering.

Regarding long-term impact, this CESO assignment served to promote internet access in the city of Kédougou. The population, which consists mainly of students, will have easier access to research data and various educational platforms.

Moreover, I believe that the assignment will provide a positive cultural imprint on the community of Kédougou. All the activities and interventions were done with respect to the local history.

As well, the assignment aimed to nurture sustainable development of the economy, supporting a grassroots movement towards a technologically autonomous and efficient growth in several sectors such as education, commerce and sport.

Additionally, the assignment served to use technology to strategically appropriate local resources and maximize social transformation. In terms of international effects of the assignment, the local Senegalese groups will have a better view of the international community. Likewise, international organizations will have a fair perspective of how Senegal’s public sector is building a better foundation for their youth and culture.

Discussion about the Partnership Model and the Role of CESO Advisors

The partnership model in Senegal is adaptive. The role of the CESO Advisor is well integrated in the collaboration with the stakeholder involved in the project. All the meetings where planned and executed in a dynamic way, helping maximize the result on the field. My strategic suggestion regarding both phases of the assignment is to provide accompaniment to the Mayor of Kédougou, reinforcing confidence in our ability to support the assignment.

Social Media

Prior to the first assignment phase, we had an informal meeting with the Mayor of Kédougou in Dakar. This was shared on social media. Below is a photo of an exchange of gifts:

Photos from the Assignment:

Additional Information      

I have made a testimony for prospective students of Polytechnique Montréal. This abstract was made to highlight the idea of integration behind CESO assignments and knowledge sharing to support learning and action, as well as providing a good blueprint for society and our world. I encourage everyone who is passionate about economic empowerment to involve themselves in causes close to their heart.

Read my testimony here.

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