"Cité Baraka: from a slum to a new district" in Senegal

It all started about two years ago, when UNESCO Special Ambassador Dr Ute Ohoven decided to finally resolve the problems of the nearly 1,600 slum dwellers of Baraka, a shantytown in the very middle of the capital Dakar. For the past 10 years, UNESCO Foundation-Education for Children in Need, supported the slum of Baraka with the cooperation with HOPE’87-Senegal in their financing of income generating activities and the construction of a primary school. The latter, establishing a school and handing it over to the Ministry of Education, was also a means of protecting the people of Baraka, who have no legal right of residence from forced eviction. Several times in past few years, the bulldozers on stand-by were withdrawn only because Ms Ohoven appealed directly to the State President to intervene… Now a double-storey primary school has been in full swing for several years and provides education for 300 children.

However, the main problem of the slum dwellers remained the same: living in shanty dwellings without running water, sewerage, medical care, professional training and with scarce income generating activities, until UNESCO Special Ambassador Dr Ohoven found a congenial partner in Mr Samih Sawiris, CEO of the worldwide ORASCOM group. Mr Sawiris pledged to rebuild the slum areas with 210 apartments, one for each family, in accordance to the blueprints awarded by an international jury of architects composed and led by the Association of German Architects (“Bund Deutscher Architekten”) and the Peter Behrens School of Architecture in Düsseldorf. It took another year to "fine tune" the blueprints and get all the necessary authorisations by the Senegalese Government. It was of great importance that the President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall, himself declared the project of public interest and support it wholeheartedly in cooperation with the Minister of Habitat, Diéne Farba Sarr.

After the rainy season, in October 2017, the construction work started. Furthermore, HOPE’87-Senegal, with financing from the YOU Foundation, Mr Sawiris and other donors, implemented a series of projects. A sensitisation campaign was run in order to inform the slum inhabitants and to raise awareness regarding the ways of life that would change and they were moved from their shacks to apartments on the first or second floor. A training program was also started for all 215 craftsmen, semi-skilled workers and service providers of Baraka to enhance their capacities in strategic management and marketing and to make them fit to stabilise or to enlarge their economic activities in the newly constructed “Cité Baraka” (District Baraka). A small IT Center is working in a temporary building and a newly established hairdresser and beauty parlour is making good money. If you want to know more about the project, please have a look at the weekly blog available in French and English at https://barakadakar.wordpress.com