In Senegal, every year there are deleterious effects of deforestation brought on by forest fires, agricultural development, and overgrazing. These and general deterioration of the environment pose as major obstacles for economic growth.
Against this backdrop, the Senegalese government (GOS) developed the Forest Action Plan of Senegal (PAFS) in 1992 and promoted activities forest protection. In 2001, the Government of Japan (GOJ) supported the GOS in the first phase of the project titled “Integrated Community Forestry Development in Senegal,” which was carried out for two years. The project promoted restoration and maintenance of the ecosystem and aims to improve the standard of living of the population. This is achieved by improving local production systems of agriculture and forestry, led by locals. In December 2004, the two countries signed the Minutes of Discussions and agree to implement the extension phase of the project, in order to continue to the activities carried out in Phase I.
The objective of this project was to examine the financial and socioeconomic feasibility of the Integrated Forestry Community Development Project (PRODEFI) model, a participatory public service delivery model applied in rural marshlands of Senegal to support community-based forest management and small-scale businesses. IC Net assessed its feasibility by measuring its economic impacts.
The team’s work ranged from conducting village-based participatory training sessions, one of the unique features of this project, to implementing baseline and end-line surveys for impact evaluation. To monitor the impacts of the model, the team used a feedback mechanism. The team also designed the analytical framework and built in a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to estimate the value-added generated by target rural communities. The results were used to render cost-effective public services to motivated participants for the enhancement of their production activities.
After introducing the PRODEFI model, the project succeeded in popularizing seedling production and tree-planting among villagers. The project revitalized and helped sustain villagers’ forestry activities and demonstrated that the PRODEFI model was an effective approach to promoting community forestry. Furthermore, this model mobilized the labor and personal finances of village residents, who contributed 48% of construction costs.
IC Net carried out the following activities: 1. Conducted baseline studies on forest management and workshops for participatory project formulation; 2. Designed training programs on community-based forest management, including a needs survey, site selection, cost estimation, development of technical contents, and capacity building of trainers, who were mainly local government officials; 3. Established a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to measure the impacts of the training programs and improve them; and 4. Promoted the application of PRODEFI model in their strategic plan for rural development to the Government of Senegal.