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The Climate-smart village approach: communities at the heart of restoration in Senegal. Included in Restoring African Drylands


The climate-smart village approach created enthusiasm and commitment from farmers in seeking solutions to the problems and constraints that they themselves identified. The approach also involved strengthening the capacity of technical staff to use new tools, and to understand and support the new methods, with complementary finance to support the changes.

However, the success of regreening actions such as these requires a combination of legal, institutional, organizational, sociocultural, economic and ecological factors. A failure to consider any of these factors will hamper progress.
The remaining challenges include the limited involvement of local elected officials in environmental and state-owned commissions, and their lack of knowledge of decentralization laws. In addition, there are issues at the organizational and sociocultural level. These include the exclusion of women, youth and pastoralists; the limited involvement of monitoring organizations; interference by religious leaders (marabouts), inconsistent sectoral policies, and lack of synergy between projects and programmes.

Involving local communities in the identification of problems and in the planning, implementation and governance of sustainable land management must be the basis of all interventions aimed at reversing the process of land degradation in the Sahel. Equally crucial is awareness-raising among communities and strengthening their capacity through farmer-to-farmer exchange visits, farmer field schools, and specific training that promotes wide-scale adoption of best practices. Finally, supporting restoration through the development of agroforestry resource value chains helps to empower communities and sustain interventions.

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