As a follow-up to the Deliberative Polling (DP) Exercise held in one of the suburbs in Dakar, Senegal http://www.ranlab.org/deliberative-polling-dp-in-dakar-senegal and http://www.ranlab.org/deliberative-polling-for-tivaoune-peul-launched-in-west-africa, the West Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (RILab) hosted by the University for Development Studies in Tamale, Northern Ghana and one of the labs under the Makerere University School of Public Health Resilient Africa Network (RAN) in partnership with Stanford University one of RAN’s core partners supporting the Innovation and community consultation process and the University of Dakar, a network plus partner convened key stakeholders for the dissemination of the results from the first ever Deliberative Poll earlier held in Senegal. The RAN team included; Prof. Jim Fishkin, Stanford University Center for Deliberative Democracy, the West Africa Resilience Innovation lab team including; Dr. Dennis Chirawurah, RILab Director, Santuah Niagia, Program Cordinator and Michelle Apanga, RILab Administrator, RAN Secretariat represented by Harriet Adong, Communications Manager and the network plus partner focal person Dr. Tidiane Ndoye from the University of Dakar, Senegal.
This engagement held March 9-10, 2017 in Dakar, Senegal brought together over 40 participants including; Researchers, Biologists, Water treatment specialists, lecturers in entomology, agriculture specialists, botanical experts, environmental scientists, sociologists, website developers, producers and exporters of fruits and vegetables in Senegal, Political leaders including the Mayor and 1st Deputy Mayor of Maire Tivaouane Peulh/Niaga where the Deliberative Polling Exercise was conducted, Head Imam, Senate representatives, development Sociologist, communication experts among others. ‘This is the first meeting I am attending where we are deliberating about real community problems with the community representatives themselves. This therefore is an effective way of doing things which we all need to quickly adopt. I am personally happy to be here and when I interacted with other participants in this room, they are equally satisfied with this approach’ commented Mayor Mamor Sokhna DIOP.
After re-echoing about RAN, West Africa Resilience Innovation Lab and a brief into the Deliberative Polling (DP) methodology an innovation of the network itself introduced by colleagues in Stanford University, participants delved into discussing and sharing insights into the Senegal DP results/findings (deliberation was on food security and WASH-Water, Sanitation and Hygiene issues) summarised in a Preliminary report yet to be finalized and widely shared. This was followed by small group discussions, brainstorming what key issues arose from these results in order to quickly inform policy. It was during the second day’s meeting when a smaller key working team then discussed in-depth the recommendations/ suggestions from the group discussions, clearly pointing out areas of emphasis and drafting away forward to further document and share these findings widely.
Some of the follow on activities include; holding a quick dissemination to the earlier engaged communities in Dakar, further engaging political and government influential persons who had been invited to the dissemination exercise, drafting and sharing 6 brief Policy Briefs, a report from the dissemination exercise, review and share the Preliminary report from the DP exercise, document and share all findings in academic papers for wider knowledge sharing and coining several innovative solutions from the entire community consultation exercise. The team is committed to working together to positively impact not only the African communities but even those far and beyond.