Managing the COVID-19 Crisis: The Leadership of Women and Community in Action

We recently received an update from our colleagues at THP Senegal regarding initiatives underway to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  To read the entire update in its original French, or translated into English, visit here

A summary of the information follows here:

COVID-19 has been challenging for communities everywhere - but it’s also demonstrating the power of local leadership, particularly women to take initiative and develop strategies that work. 

Yenne Epicenter:

  • The women from the "Suxali jiguéen" program used the interest returned on the microfinance program to purchase and install hand washing systems throughout the village and along the road to the village of Nditakh (one of the 7 villages of POMPEY which has around 1644 people). 
  • In partnership with a grassroots community association, "And Suxali Nditakh", the Village Committee mobilized more resources to strengthen this initiative, by purchasing 100 bottles of hydroalcoholic gels, bleach, detergents and cans for these wash points.


Namarel Epicenter:

  • Radio broadcasts were initiated to notify and educate the community on COVID-19. These broadcasts featured professionals and experts, such as the President of the Epicenter Committee, Chief District Physician of Podor, NGO Fouta, Head nurses, Leaders of the Epicenter Association, Mayor of the Commune of Gamadji Saré, and a lawyer from Namarel, who is also a member of Association of Women Lawyers of Senegal. 
  • A Radiothon was organized and enabled to mobilized 6 000 000 CFA (approximately $14,000 CAD) to support the purchase of equipment and disinfectant products for local households. 
  • The Epicenter also received support from the Project of Agroecological Intensification and Promotion of Family Farm Products (PIAVPEF) with the donation protective kits, including hygiene products (540 pieces of soap, 360 bottles of bleach, 101 bottles of hydroalcoholic gel, and 103 washable, fabric protective masks). 
  • The Epicenter Committee has distributed the masks, with the help of the Area Supervisor. The Supervisor distributed protective kits in the villages of Yaré, Thiwdé and Namarel. 
  • The community created hand washing stations through recycling plastic bottles. This type of device has been replicated in the vast majority of households and meeting places.

Handwashing StationHandwashing 2

Coki Epicenter:

  • The Epicenter Committee carried out awareness-raising activities and established wash points in villages, health huts, and in some homes
  • The “badienou gokh” (neighborhood godmothers) have also mobilized to strengthen awareness of preventive measures. A caravan travelled through all the villages and health huts in the area.
  • The women beneficiaries of the "Suxali jiguéen" program organized themselves to mobilize funds from their savings and rebates to grant loans to the most affected members, but also to buy and distribute food to the most vulnerable households.

Men in SenegalCaravan

Dodel and Guédé Epicenters:

  • As part of the Agroecological Intensification and Promotion of Agricultural Products Project, the basic supervisors initiated awareness-raising. The following rules have been adopted for meetings with producers: limitation of 10 to 15 participants at most, compulsory wearing of masks, frequent handwashing.
  • A woman leader, the Basic Supervisor of the Project in Guédé, began an initiative of awareness-raising and providing information to her community as soon as the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in Senegal. Her support guided families of suspected cases on the urgent measures to be taken, and has been greatly appreciated within the affected communities. 


This is the power of community. This is the power of local leadership. This is the power of empowered women