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Sustainable Development Goals Shape a Better Future, in Senegal and Beyond

Inclusive, empowering, transformative—the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a shared vision to improve the lives of people around the world.

These 17 objectives are at the heart of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Their achievement depends on global ownership and strong commitment—a driving force among City of Dakar employees in Senegal.

The City of Dakar’s Centre for Professional Training and Improvement of Municipal Staff (CEFOPPPEM) established an international training centre called CIFAL Dakar to help governments and businesses in West Africa embrace the Global Goals.

“Knowledge is the engine for achieving Agenda 2030,” says CEFOPPPEM Director Mouhamed Diop. “Our mission is to support country-level action to shape a better future.”

In 2020, CESO’s support helped bring this mission to life. Over three weeks, CESO Advisor Anny Jalbert conducted training sessions by videoconference to raise awareness of the SDGs. City of Dakar employees, students, entrepreneurs, business executives and elected representatives from Senegal, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mali made up the over 80 participants who enthusiastically embraced information and practical exercises for reducing inequalities and protecting the planet.

Remote CESO training helped participants learn to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals into policies and activities. Photo: CEFOPPPEM

“The training helped everyone develop the analytical skills needed to address sustainability challenges in their own community and incorporate the SDGs into activities, programs and policies,” explains Anny.

With women representing about half of the trainees, the presentation’s leading topic on Goal 5—Gender Equality—was especially resonant. “We are empowering women to influence decision making and actions anchored with the achievement of the Global Goals,” shares Anny.

Gender was integrated into the training sessions to raise awareness among all participants about the important role women play in achieving sustainable development. Photo: CIFAL Dakar

One such woman is Maty Ka, founder of a small agricultural company called Tolou Askan Wi. “I gained a much clearer idea about how to incorporate the Goals into my business,” says Maty.

On a slope of land outside Dakar, the young entrepreneur can be found harvesting her vegetable crop using agro-ecological farming techniques in favour of Goal 13—Climate Action. “I have quality vegetables while reducing my impact on the environment,” she explains. Recognizing the significance of productive employment for a sustainable future—Goal 8—Maty created marketing jobs for two members of her village.

Maty learned how to incorporate the Global Goals into her agricultural business.

Equally inspired toward environmental conservation, after just one session, the mayor of a popular Senegalese vacation town met with municipal employees to share ideas for ecotourism initiatives.

Over in Ziguinchor, Senegal, an SDG awareness event for the Chamber of Commerce encouraged businesses to strategize for greater inclusion and responsible consumption.

“Many participants had believed that the SDGs were only for international NGOs,” says Anny. “Now they see how they’re accessible at the local level and that everyone has a role to play.”

From behind her computer screen, Anny’s teachings for prosperity reached participants across Africa, which might not have been as easily achieved through an in-person assignment. Further broadening its impact, Anny’s training benefited a local consultant who ran additional sessions engaging over 100 participants.

“CESO’s support enabled us to become a reference centre for sustainable development in Africa,” says Mouhamed. “Through our knowledge sharing and collaboration with local and regional authorities, we can help ensure that all 17 objectives are achieved by 2030.”


Banner photo: CIFAL Dakar

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.