Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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From representation to reforestation: social dynamics and mangrove in a Sereer community in Senegal

Aurélie KONEN student laureate


°1978 Belgium
Licence in social sciences (anthropology), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, 2000

De la représentation au reboisement : dynamiques sociales et mangrove chez les Sereer au Sénégal

Aurélie Konen's work is both original and exemplary as well as targeted and very detailed. She was able to surpass the strict boundaries of her discipline and to open some interdisciplinary perspectives. Her paper is dedicated to an endogenous reforestation project in the village of Mbam, where the dissappearance of the mangrove ecosystem led the formation of an association for 'the regeneration and rehabilitation of the environment'. The author thus shows that the concern for conservation is indeed present in certain African situations. Some fundamental aspects of this African concern for the environment are brought to the fore in her fine and careful analysis. First of all, the environment can be seen as a sociocultural medium, mobilizing specific meanings in connection with people, their social relations, their symbolics and supernatural references. On the other hand, as soon as the environment becomes the object of a militant activity, it endangers the existing social relations, which can lead to their possible rearrangement.
The research is also exemplary for the contributions of anthropology and sociology to the dynamics of development. It allows for an evaluation of the different motives and logics underlying an endogenous project, of how partnerships with external actors may influence, and even compromise, the local dynamics in a village. 

Report by Prof. Dr. Marc Poncelet, Social change and development, Department of social sciences, Université de Liège, Belgium