© National Assembly for Civil Society of Senegal

For the first time in Senegal’s history, The Council of Non-Governmental Development Support (CONGAD), member of the Regional Coalition REPAOC and of  Forus International Network for civil society, took an initiative, along with other bodies of the National Civil Society, to organise “The National Assembly of the Civil Society” in Dakar, with the diaspora and across the regions of the country. 

The organisation of The National Assembly aimed at strengthening the position and role of Civil Society organisations, for a better contribution to the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public policies at both national and local levels. In view of these meetings, a tour of information and awareness was initiated. The first phase of the tour took place from the 6th to the 10th of August 2018, in Thiès, Louga, Saint-Louis and Matam, respectively. 

The second phase started on the 16th of August 2018 in Diourbel, then in Fatick on the 17th, in Kaolack on the 18th and finally in Kaffrine on the 19th. As for the third phase, it started on September 18th, 2018. The region of Tambacounda was the first stop, followed by Kédougou on the 20th, then Kolda on the 22nd, then Sédhiou on the 23rd and finally Ziguinchor on the 24th. The final stage of this national tour took place in the Dakar region on Friday November 2nd, 2018, thus completing a journey of 4300 kilometres across Senegal.

In keeping with the wishes of CONGAD, global network of civil society actors, and its partners, successful efforts have been made by the focal points responsible for preparing the awareness workshops, to ensure that the process is inclusive
 
In all the regions that were visited, we noted a good participation of Civil Society organisations. We recorded a total of 723 representatives in the 14 regional workshops, with an equal participation from men and women. We also noticed an important mobilisation during the winter even though in certain localities, the population was busy with rural work. 

The registered participants are representatives of NGOs from associations involved in monitoring the exploitation of extractive resources in all regions, emerging movements, trade unions, religious organisations (of Islamic and Catholic affiliation), grass-root associations, including Sport and Culture associations (SCA), networks of cooperative producers, CSO coordinators and platforms, consumer associations, networks of youth and women's organisations, economic interest groups (EIG), neighbourhood committees among others. 

During these workshops, regional coordination and follow up committees were established. The members of these committees were chosen by the participants. At each stage of the project, the president of CONGAD and his delegation started the meeting, explaining the motivation they have to steer the project and answered all the questions from the participants. All the information on the budget supplied by the European Union delegation was provided to them throughout this tour. 

In the end, the draft terms of reference for the regional information and awareness tours on the processes of organising The National Assembly were shared and consolidated. Throughout the information tours, recurring themes emerged. They concern not only public policies but also the situation of local populations. They can be sorted into four categories: Migration and Development, Forest resource governance, Equality in the implementation of public policies, and Financing for development.