“First results of the socio-economic survey” (Guinea, Mali, Senegal), May 2021

As part of the Watigueleya Kèlê action-research programme, a socio-economic survey was carried out from 1 February to 17 March 2021 in the 10 villages participating in the project. In total, 864 households were surveyed (representing a population of 10,480 people). Among them, 974 people aged 18 and over (477 men and 497 women, selected by random draw) were interviewed about, among other things, the climatic and ecological hazards encountered, their perceptions of the changes observed over the last ten years, the notion of “climate change” and local management methods for natural resources.

The data collected is currently being processed and analysed. Some interesting elements are already emerging from the initial results presented at the workshop held in Bandafassi, Senegal, in late May 2021.

Based on the statements of the interviewees, it appears that the three study areas have been affected differently by hazards over the past 10 years, which can be explained in part by the different agro-ecological contexts involved: In Guinea, drought appears to be the main hazard faced by households (88%), followed by pest infestations for almost one in two households (45%); in Senegal, on the other hand, while 60% of households also faced drought, a very large majority (78%) experienced epizootic diseases, and two-thirds (67%) had to deal with bush fires; Most households surveyed in Mali also faced drought (93%), but many also faced livestock diseases (86%), as well as crop diseases and pest infestations (78%).

Source: MENAGE Watigueleya Kèlê survey, 2021.

Climate change’ is also perceived differently across the study areas. While a large majority of respondents in Guinea and Mali said they had heard of ‘climate change’ (80% and 74% respectively), only one in two in Senegal (50%) had. This is undoubtedly related to people’s perception of the evolution of climatic conditions for agricultural production: for 93% of respondents in Guinea and 73% in Mali, these conditions are ‘less good’ today than they were 10 years ago; on the other hand, 40% in Senegal perceive these climatic conditions as similar, with only a small majority (55%) stating that climatic conditions for agricultural production were less good than 10 years ago.

            The information of the populations with regard to “climate change” still seems to be poorly organised and developed in an institutional manner in the three study areas. Indeed, most of the people who had heard about ‘climate change’ had heard about it in informal discussions with relatives and/or neighbours, and a majority stated that there were no public meetings in the village on the subject, or that they did not know if any existed. These results may explain why, on the one hand, the primary cause of climate change is attributed to “God” in all three study areas, while, on the other hand, a majority of respondents believe that villagers cannot provide solutions to limit the impact of climate change. These results are also related to the consultation and information processes of the populations concerning access to and management of natural resources. Indeed, the majority of respondents stated that they were never consulted (73% in Senegal, 64% in Mali and 56% in Guinea) and, in Senegal and Mali in particular, that they were little or not at all informed of the decisions taken on this subject.

            This clearly shows the interest of the Watigueleya Kèlê action-research project in collecting, promoting and disseminating local knowledge and practices to deal with climate change. Moreover, although they are in the minority, over a third of respondents in Guinea (34%) and Mali (35%), and nearly 20% of those in Senegal, believe that villagers can provide solutions to limit the impact of climate change. Yet it implies that the populations, without distinction, are integrated into the decision-making processes concerning access to and management of natural resources and that they are informed of the decisions that are taken on this subject.

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