Le Forum social mondial / The World Social Forum

Two posts from our Sustainable Cities CIDA IYIP interns based in Dakar!

François Séguin, who reports to us in French, focuses on Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Michael Von Buttlar (who provides the blog post that follows in English) focuses on Local Initiatives.

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Nous étions à peine arrivés au Sénégal, que déjà un événement de grande envergure s’ouvrait à Dakar : le 11e Forum social mondial. Regroupant des dizaines de milliers de participants venus des quatre coins de la planète, et proposant plus de 700 activités par jour, le Forum fut, le temps d’une semaine, le centre de l’attention de toute la ville. D’ailleurs, l’ampleur du Forum a semblé dépasser un peu les organisateurs qui ne savaient plus où donner de la tête. Bien que l’organisation était moins catastrophique que ne le laissait entendre certains critiques sénégalais, je dois avouer que le processus d’inscription a pris plusieurs jours et était empreint d’une grande confusion. Malgré tout, entre deux rassemblements syndicaux brésiliens, une conférence de la Fondation Rosa Luxembourg et la découverte d’une multitude d’organisations locales, le Forum fut un moment de rencontres et de découvertes extrêmement intéressantes. Est-ce qu’un autre monde est possible? Probablement. Comment y arriver? Il existe beaucoup de solutions possibles. Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire pour nous? Il faut commencer par le succès de nos projets ici à Dakar aussi petite soit leur échelle. Sur ce, je me remets au travail, il y a beaucoup de pain sur la planche!

À la prochaine,

François Séguin

Thanks François. Our arrival and immediate integration into our new lives in Dakar has happened at an unbelievable pace. We arrived on a Sunday and the very next day we were meeting hoards of new people, motivated and ready to work with us. On top of all that the 11th World Social Forum had the city bustling as much as ever. Our participation in the Dakar edition can already be considered as one of the highlights of our short time here so far. In the parade we were met with songs, banners and friendly hellos in every language imaginable. I would estimate that we walked for about 3 or 4 kilometres and we made our way from the very back of the crowd (we arrived a little late) to somewhere around the middle at which point we had reached the end of the parade. The social aspect of the Forum was undeniable and the help that we encountered from the various volunteers from the University, where the majority of the events took place, enabled us to continue adapting to our new home. This year’s Forum had a huge focus on agriculture and the ability of small farmers and fishermen to have access to the things they need the most in order to have a viable, healthy, and worthy work life. As for myself, I had never participated in such a large social event and now I am proud to say that I have.

From Dakar, Senegal, I will try to keep you up to date with all my other Sustainable Cities activities.

Until then, cheers!!!

Michael von Buttlar



About sustainablecitiesnetwork

Sustainable Cities International is a registered not-for-profit organization based in Vancouver, Canada. Operating since 1993, the mission of Sustainable Cities is to catalyze action on urban sustainability with cities around the world. We work by connecting and mobilizing people through the process of co-creating. We facilitate a thriving, international network of cities that act as urban laboratories: adopting, testing and improving on innovations. Ideas are accelerated through sharing of experience and cities are making transformational change a reality
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