A Symbol of Leadership for Senegal's Epicenters
by Couna Gueye Diop, Partnership Building and Resource Mobilization Officer, The Hunger Project Senegal
Mame Coumba Ndiaye is a leading figure in Koki in both development and politics. She is a 50-year-old married woman and mother of 3 children, including 2 boys and 1 girl, all students at the University. Alphabetized in the national Ouolof language, she was formerly PCA of the savings and credit mutual of the epicentre of Koki from 2001 to 2014. Mame Coumba Ndiaye is also a political icon in her community. She was established on the political scene very early on in 1983. Until 1993, she remained a member of the socialist youth movement where she was one of the first women to join the party.
“My vision is to make development policy!”
Between 1993 and 2009, she had considerably reduced her political activities to focus on the
development of her community and that of her female peers. Her contact with THP has contributed greatly to this involvement in the development of her community. Indeed, having benefited from multiple sessions of capacity building and training on leadership and personal development, management and advocacy training, she ended up giving new orientations to these activities. It has gradually forged itself by further strengthening its leadership but also and above all by having a clearer vision of its ambitions and the trajectory to give to these political activities. Currently coordinator of the village committee of Koki 1, she also serves as President of the Communal Union of Women's Promotion Groups of Koki.
"These trainings that I have been able to benefit from through THP's actions have only further strengthened my leadership, especially in the political field where I have been working for a long time. Moreover, it is thanks to these trainings that I decided to see politics from another angle, that of development. Today I analyze things in a totally different way and my vision is to make development policy "more and more."
In 2002, during the implementation of the literacy program in the epicenter for women, her proven skills and active participation in women's literacy activities earned her the position of THP program supervisor. In Koki and the surrounding villages, she is very active in mobilizing women and young people by helping them to better organize and formalize themselves.
"...I continue to fight to better help rural women organize themselves into formal groups. I train them myself in literacy and financial management. In some cases, I do not hesitate to guarantee for them with microfinancial institutions to allow them to benefit from credit to develop their projects.”
It is through actions of this kind that it was able to obtain approval for the Koki mutual in 2015.
Through her leadership and commitment to the empowerment of rural women, Coumba works extensively with THP in building women's capacity.
"As a resource person, with THP, I have practically toured the epicenters and provided training to women on various topics such as women's participation in local elections, how to draw up lists and ensure that they occupy the right places in local governance instances."
Her struggle for parity, leadership and influence eventually convinced men to support the women of the Koki city council in their struggle to establish budgets more sensitive to women's concerns. As a reminder, the Koki City Council has 46 councillors, 23 of whom are women.
According to her, the VCA Principle as taught by THP is a strong lever in all her enterprises and interventions. She has appropriated it and uses it in all the women's networks to which she belongs, beyond Koki at the local, departmental and national levels. Mame Coumba is part of several groups/networks among those:
- The network of women partners of the UIMCEC where she is the National President.
- The network of Epicenters called the Multi-actor Network for the Promotion of Community Approaches to Development (REMAC): Founding member, former chair of the steering committee for the establishment of the network and member of the Partnership and Training committee .
- The Local Union of GPFs of Koki of which she is president.
Her dynamism and charisma make her a very influential woman today. As such, for the second consecutive time, she is starting a second term as an advisor to Senegal's third institution, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council ESEC.
Mame Coumba expresses her ambition in these terms:
"I would like to help women to assert themselves in politics by raising their awareness and training them; today, with parity, women leaders have quotas to ensure women's representation in elected instances. My immediate ambition, if I have the necessary support, is to go around the department in order to make women literate, train them, supervise them, finance them in order to increase their personal and financial autonomy and be present in decision-making instances.”
In the perspective of self-reliance of Koki’s epicenter, Mame Coumba will say that her main wish as a leader is to be able to sustain the development actions initiated with the partner, The Hunger Project.
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