Urgent Call to Action: Foyer des jeunes filles à Tambacounda, Sénégal

[voir aussi  l´article en français]

The following is a translation (French to English) of a document provided by the Director of the Kinkeliba home for young girls in Tambacounda, Madame Seynabou Mbaye.

The problems of rape, forced marriage, and early pregnancy are sincere in Senegal, especially in Tambacounda.

A ten year old girl who was forced to marry an older man fled her village Sinthian in Gouloumbou by night to escape that destiny. She wandered 42 miles through a landscape threatened by hyenas and snakes to arrive at a school where she could continue her studies.

The NGO (non-governmental organization) Le Kinkéliba, based in Paris was deeply sensitive to her situation. It is an organization that provides medical assistance and other forms of support, including schooling. They were able to provide her with a place to continue her education in safety. This alternative allowed her to create a life that was denied by her family and social environment, as the parents refused any further support if she did not marry. The parents say, “if you will not marry [at age 10!] nobody will support you”.

Many girls are rejected by their families at this age, if they decide not to submit to marriage. The organization was able to provide her with:

  • A home
  • Education
  • Computer studies
  • Homemaking skills; cooking, etc
  • Sexual awareness, including protection against clitoral cutting, juvenile pregnancy, forced marriage etc.

In November 2007 the home was opened and able to receive girls in this situation.

  • 2007-2008 24 girls arrived
  • 2008-2009 64 girls
  • 2009-20010 111 girls
  • 20010-2011 130 girls
  • 135 girls live in our institution today.

In October 2011 the financing was interrupted due to internal squabbles among the support staff in Paris. Since June, the staff in Senegal foresaw these problems but did not receive confirmation. The 10,000 Euro budget for the NGO Kinkeliba was reduced overnight to 1,850 euros, which is not even sufficient to feed the 137 girls who live there. Water, electricity, salaries, and other ongoing expenses are not covered either. The situation today is quite dramatic, as they all survive on a day to day basis, and the girls live in fear of being returned to their villages where a fatal destiny awaits them.

[Below is the original text in French]:

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Au Sénégal, les problèmes de mariages forcés et précoces, de grossesses précoces se rencontrent beaucoup, surtout dans sa zone orientale : à Tambacounda.

C’est ainsi que voulant continuer ses études face à des parents décidés à la marier, une jeune fille de dix ans a fuit pendant la nuit de son village Sinthian à Gouloumbou soit environ 42 Km bravant des dangers comme les hyènes, les serpents dans la brousse pour pouvoir venir étudier à Tambacounda.

Très sensible à ce genre de situation, l’ONG Kinkeliba qui était une association d’aide au développement médical commencé à œuvrer dans l’éducation en construisant des jardins d’enfants, et un centre d’accueil pour les jeunes filles entre la 6ème et la terminale désireuses de continuer leurs études. Car ces dernière étaient souvent rejetées par leurs parents qui leur font un chantage : « si tu ne te marrie pas personne ne se s’occupera de toi ».

La plupart sont rejetées de leur famille ; et l’ONG Le Kinkeliba les aidait par un paquet de services à savoir :

– – – – –

l’hébergement les cours de renforcement en mathématique, français, anglais l’initiation à l’informatique la restauration des causeries sur des thèmes comme le Sida, les IST 5infections sexuellement transmissibles), l’excision, les grossesses précoces et non désirées, les mariages précoces…….

C’est ainsi que le foyer a ouvert ses portes depuis novembre 2007 ; Accueillant

– – – – –

24 pensionnaires en 2007/2008

64 pensionnaires en 2008/2009

111 pensionnaires en 2009/2010

130 pensionnaires en 2010/1011

135 pensionnaires à ce jour.

Mais le début du mois d’octobre 2011, le président de l’ONG nous a informé qu’il ya cassure entre les membres de l’ONG et qu’il y a plus moyens d’aider les jeunes filles ; ce que nous entendions depuis le mois de juin passé sans en avoir la confirmation.

De ce fait le virement mensuel qui s’élevait aux environs de 6 000 000 FCFA, a été très réduit jusqu’à 1200 000 FCFA qui ne suffisent même pas pour la restauration des filles qui s’élève à environ 3 000 000 FCFA ; sans compter, l’eau, l’électricité, le personnel de service et tous les autres engagements pour le fonctionnement du foyer.

A ce jour, la situation est très dramatique car, les pensionnaires vivent au jour le jour, et risquent de se retrouver contraints de retourner dans les villages, car n’ayant pas de quoi manger.

Further background information

At the end of October 2011, Gabriella Schwarz and Arne Thies of the organisation  >> bonErgie.com (providing solar energy to improve living conditions of people in poverty) visited the home of young girls in Tambacounda, which was financed by the above mentioned NGO Kinkeliba based in Paris. They were warmly received by Madame Seynabou Mbaye, who shared her disquiet regarding the threat to her institution’s viability and passed on the above document. The situation was quickly identified:

  • The abrupt and sudden interruption of the payments (about 10 000 Euro/month) arrived without any alternative support
  • The project of this home for young girls had been created without regard to the local economic/cultural context. All of which are wonderful but not sustainable without outside largesse. Such as:
  • A large park surrounded by a stone wall, guarded day and night.
  • Modern bungalows with cement paths, resembling Club Med vacation resort.
  • Computer rooms, libraries, a professional western kitchen, classrooms, and comfortable dormitories,
  • There is no possibility of local financing on this level. The institution is completely dependant on outside support because it has not been provided with the means to be self-sustaining (top down management).
  • There are no means of income generating activities, for example, selling surplus produce from the gardens, sharing or distributing school books, materials, such as pencils, paper, chalk, etc. ore the use of alternative less costly provision of water and electricity as private wells (water for drinking and gardening) and solar-technology.
  • There was just enough food to last a few days. The Home survives due to the personal relationship between the Director and the local population.
  • The personnel remain but are not paid.

The visiting agencies ask:

  • How can it be that such heavy support can be stopped without alternatives?
  • How could such a prestigious and expensive program that costs far more than the local needs require be suddenly terminated?
  • Why is such a heavy dependency on outside support, top down management created, then dropped?

The NGO Kinkeliba enjoys very strong support from different foundations which do not have any financial problems!

Two main questions remain:

  • Can it be that the supporting foundations are not informed by the NGO?
  • Or is it part of the ongoing “industry of suffering and tears”?

It is urgent to bring this set of problems to resolution as the girls are exposed to immediate danger:

  • The immediate need is for the NGO to continue payments. They have the money!
  • In future the NGO needs to re-engage and support a transitional phase to self-sustainability or allow outside organizations to manage the transition. A gradual path to self support would be most beneficial and is perfectly feasible!!!

The following foundations need to be informed and motivated:

How can you help?

Please contact the heads of the NGO and urge them to continue the support for the girls:

  • mprevotat@gmail.com: Mme Maëlle Prévôtat
  • Bernard.rouveix@cch.apho.fr Dr. Rouveix

Please contact as well the following relevant foundations and urge them to continue the financial support for this particular project:

If the NGO Le Kinkeliba drops the project entirely, we wish to provide the ongoing support by gradual path to self-support and need your financial assistance.

An alternative home with a gradual path to financially self-support for girls is being built in Senegal. In order to speed up the construction, your financial support will be most appreciated

For further details and information on the current situation, do not hesitate to contact  Vicky Bokengo <vicky.bokengo@bonagera.com> or Arne Thies <arne.thies@bonagera.com> (in English or French)

30 thoughts on “Urgent Call to Action: Foyer des jeunes filles à Tambacounda, Sénégal

  1. Thanks for writing about this issue! Le Kinkéliba sounds like it was a great organization, and it’s a shame that it relied so heavily on outside support that fell through. Cooperatives like this (albeit with older girls or women) often successfully support themselves with handicrafts, by growing their own food, etc. as you point out; why was it permanently determined that there was “no means for income-generating activities” in this case?

    • Très bien Kevin : c´est la réponse pour Isabella !
      Le business perpétue cette dépendance …Malheureusement aussi le business ave la «souffrance et les larmes » (voir commentaire de Kevin Clarke)

    • Ici c´est un financement démesuré pour un foyer spectaculaire dépassant de loin les nécessitées pour arriver au même résultat. Le but est de mettre la poudre aux yeux des clients et les berner qui veulent acheter de la bonne conscience en Europe. Il faut donc préserver à tout prix l´exclusivité de « l´ultime et bon sauveur ».

      Si le projet était plus adapté avec une réelle volonté d´aider on aurait prévu un foyer ouvrant la porte a un financement et une gestion de plus en plus autonome. Ici on reste 100 % à la merci du financier et le drame est programmé d´avance si ce dernier se retire parce-que le sujet ne luis convient plus…dans ce business il n’y a pas d´humanité. Ce foyer en est malheureusement un exemple loin d’être unique!

      L’Afrique a les moyens de se prendre en main mais Il faut arrêter de l’étouffer ! Il faut plutôt lui donner l’occasion de reprendre un peu de son propre souffle

  2. I know that area from many visits to Senegal, for different job assignments. I wish you all very well and congratulate you with the work! We need more initiatives like this. Hope you will find the necessary funding at last… I will send this around to my friends.

  3. Self support has been blocked by the very organization that created theKinkeliba. It does indeed belong to the aforementioned “Industry of Tears and Suffering. Businesses prefer to keep the people dependant, It is simply that.
    It perpetuates a cycle dependence, need, support from the outside “exclusive savior”.
    The development monies are channeled through local government agencies to give the impression of fairness, while aid is linked to financial concessions, especially land concessions in the moment.
    Kevin Clarke

  4. ☼ my dears, stay strong, believe in the power of yourself and never give up fighting for justice….the public will know about your case, and hopefully react right on welfarewashing practice WE ARE THE 99%

  5. Réseau Africain pour le Développement Intégré
    African Network for Integrated evelopment
    10éme RIAOM N°140 en face du Musée
    653 Annexe Thiès – ( :33 951 69 84 – E-mail : cijradith@orange.sn)

    Je me nomme Marie Pierre Diop, juriste de formation et Coordinatrice d’une ONG de défense des Droits Humains dénommée Réseau Africain pour le Développement Intégré (RADI) à Thiès.
    J’avais déjà adressé une correspondance aux responsables de l’ONG kinkéliba à propos de la situation du foyer des jeunes à Tamba.
    En effet, la situation est dramatique. La responsable de ce foyer que j’ai eu au téléphone m’a expliqué que des dépenses ont été réalisées aux fins de nourriture pour les enfants du foyer en attente des fonds que l’ONG kinkéliba devait leur transférer et que présentement, les fournisseurs qui demeurent impayés menacent de les traduire en justice.
    C’est une situation regrettable qui méritent d’être résorbée pour sauvegarder l’image de marque de l’ONG kinkéliba car, on ne rompt pas de façon brutale une collaboration de ce genre; des préjudices énormes peuvent s’en suivre…
    Par conséquent, je vous prie de penser avec diligence à la prompte résolution de la situation de ce foyer.
    Marie Pierre

    • J’avais déjà envoyé à Madame Maelle à Paris ce message sans réponse de sa part.
      Bonne journée.

  6. Shock and blame help motivate us, the next step is to find paths to engage this moment, this case, and deal with the moment, the recognition, to work to coordinate action with this very real, specific situation. Constructive action.

  7. Pingback: en français: Contextes creations foyer jeunes filles, Tambacounda, Sénégal « africanperspectivesblog

  8. I think, that it is necessary for all people, which have not lost her mind, to support all activities to stop all kind of violence done to young girls in Senegal-


  9. Providing a home, education and schooling for those 135 women is essential to make changes. They need the help of Le Kinkéliba!

  10. There is nothing good, unless you do it. If you’re at it, support the home for 5 years, please do it again! I think if you have the opportunity to help others/ peoples, then you should do it. Please help by continue the support for the girls! Thank you.

  11. I welcome this organization – this is a project that we must support, Le Kinkeliba is a organization which has our full backing. To all companies: what has happaned to this project? We must do everything we can – from today! Let us take it to heart. We must lend our full support to these objectives – to the objectives of all projects like this. In Senegal and then anywhere else it is needed!

    • The idea to help the girls is good, but here the NGO “le Kinkeliba” is using their fate to make business: Please read the entire article! That NGO is now stopping payments (10000 Euro/month) to run that foyer, just because it is out of fashion as the “clients” are looking for another subject for advertising their good conscious!

  12. To make a change, everybody counts, some start with the man in the mirrow, some have the chance to help a lot of humans. If anyone have the possibilty to help these people, he should do so.

  13. violence envers les enfants de notre terre est un crime. Le plus grand crime de regarder est ne rien faire. Reprenez votre support pour cet institution – immediatement! Merci.

  14. Once you made a commitment to support these girls and women you should stick to it. Though it might not be a legal issue it is alt least a question of very basic ethics.

  15. If an organisation decides to do development work and decides to support a project, they also have to think about the exit strategy and how to make a project sustainable in a way that in the medium to long-term it will be able to sustain itself. This clearly seems not to be the case. The NGO at least ought to be accountable to its donors, the foundations, who paid for this very worthwhile project. Are they aware of this issue.

    Being a good citizen and doing good, which I “suppose” the aim of the NGO is, also has a lot to do of how one is perceived in society. No longer supporting this project without offering an alternative, definitely does NOT make for a good reputation, which in the long run may mean less donor support for the NGO. It would be advisable for the NGO to take this into account.

  16. Under the section “Financement” stated on the home page of the Kinkeliba NGO, one reads: “All projects are autonomous and must progressively become self supporting.”

    However, according to the recent analysis of Gabriella Schwarz and Dr. Arne Thies this and other most basic principles for sustainable and responsible development work seem to be completely neglected!

    It is bad enough that such things happen but even worse if a project is then simply dropped! Abandoning the young girls now means risking even their lives. This wasn’t the case before any help was offered.
    According to its own principles the NGO must act now in a responsible way working out alternatives which are embedded in the local cultural context and which will thus be sustainable in the long term.

  17. Le délégué général de l’association Le Kinkeliba après lecture de cet article souhaite rétablir plusieurs vérités qui ont été malmenées dans cet article et les commentaires qui lui sont attachés.

    La plupart des données n’ont pas été vérifiées et sont non conformes à la réalité, dommageables et diffamantes. Cette ingérence dans les activités de l’association est inacceptable et constitue un préjudice important.

    L’association en dépit de difficultés liées au contexte international continue à gérer du mieux possible les structures qu’elle a créé et a à cœur de continuer à venir en aide aux populations

    Si vous souhaitez aider Le Kinkeliba vos dons sont les bienvenus et seront nécessairement plus profitable que la campagne de désinformation de laquelle participe cet article.

    Vous pouvez nous contacter à l’adresse mail : mprevotat@gmail.com

    The managing director of the association The Kinkeliba after reading this article wants to restore many truths that have been abused in this article and the comments attached to it.

    Most of the data have not been verified and do not conform to reality; this is merely damaging and defamatory. This interference in the activities of the association is unacceptable and constitutes a significant disadvantage.

    The association in spite of difficulties related to the international crisis continues in the best possible way to manage structures it has created and help the people it has helped for the past fifteen years.

    If you want to help Le Kinkeliba, donations are welcome and will necessarily be more profitable than the disinformation campaign which involved the article.

    You can contact us at the email address: mprevotat@gmail.com

    • Chère Madame Prévotat
      Nous vous remercions infiniment de vous être manifestée, car c’est ce que nous attendions depuis octobre dernier.
      Inutile de souligner que toutes les données dans l’article ont été vérifiées par nous-même lors de notre visite en octobre dernier et que toutes les informations jusqu’á aujourd’hui proviennent de plusieurs sources à différents niveaux et sont totalement convergentes.

      Afin de vous faciliter une réponse plus pertinente, nous voudrions vous demander de bien vouloir nous éclairer directement sur les points suivants :

      1. Pensez-vous réellement reprendre en main ce foyer et payer la totalité des frais de fonctionnement comme vous l´aviez fait auparavant (environ 10 000 Euro/mois)? Les 3 500 000 CFA récemment versés sur le compte de l‘association du Foyer représentent environ 50% des frais de fonctionnement mensuel. Inutile de souligner que cette somme est loin de suffire à éponger les dettes du foyer accumulées depuis octobre 2011 !

      2. Certes ce foyer est une structure très prestigieuse, mais ne croyez-vous pas qu’une structure moins onéreuse aurait pu satisfaire tout aussi bien les demandes ? Il est certain que cette structure dépasse de loin le contexte socioculturel et économique de cette région.

      3. Des actions rémunératrices prometteuses proposées par les habitants du foyer n’ont jamais pu jusqu’à maintenant voir le jour, car votre ONG n’a pas consenti à une telle approche, pourquoi ?

      4. Seriez-vous prêts à soutenir ce foyer durant une phase transitoire, afin qu’une structure alternative puisse prendre la relève ?

      5. Sinon, seriez-vous prêts à introduire des actions autonomes rémunératrices, afin de réduire successivement les coûts d’entretien de ce foyer? Il est évident que dans le passé jusqu’à aujourd’hui, le manque total de puits/pompes pour l’eau potable et l’irrigation d’un propre jardin, de panneaux solaires, un substitut au gaz pour la cuisine etc. créaient des charges excessivement lourdes tout en poussant le foyer vers une totale dépendance au « KINKELIBA ». Sans la perspective graduelle vers une autosuffisance vivrière, technique et financière de cette structure, il sera très difficile de trouver des aides financières hors de votre propre réseau. Nous craignons que votre demande d’aide, sans consentir à un changement successif et radical vers une gestion plus adaptée et autonome ne soit probable.

      La situation au foyer devient intenable…Il faut une solution rapide et définitive !
      Dans l´attente de vous lire et de trouver une solution satisfaisante pour ce foyer, nous vous assurons, Madame, de nos salutations distinguées.

      Vicky Bokengo et Dr. Arne Thies, Munich 14.01.12

  18. Worth is if international organizations are doing a good business on behalf of misery and suffer …we should show more solidarity and fight against it!!
    We need your comments and actions

  19. I was recommended this web site through my cousin.
    I am not certain whether or not this post is written through him as nobody else realize such specified about my trouble.

    You’re amazing! Thanks!

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