Apply now to join our next cohort of Community Science Fellows and Community Leaders!

Meet Our New International Partner: Association of Young Geologists and Environmentalists of Senegal (AJGES)

Category: Uncategorized

Thriving Earth Exchange and AJGES team up to bring community science to Senegal 

In the latest expansion of Thriving Earth’s impacts beyond the U.S., a new partnership with a group of scientists in Senegal provides an opportunity to bring the community science approach to local environmental issues in the West African nation.

The Association of Young Geologists and Environmentalists of Senegal (AJGES) is a non-profit, apolitical organization founded in 2016 with a mission of making geology and environmental sciences a driving force for development in Senegal. The organization’s scientists are united around the goal of tackling sustainable development and environmental justice issues facing many Senegalese communities.

“AJGES has long worked on community-based projects, but Thriving Earth Exchange’s training in community science approaches will allow us to have a better approach for future projects and more impact in the realization of projects within communities,” said Doro Niang, AJGES President. “Community science allows our association to define the priorities of community actions with the effective involvement of the populations who will benefit.”

AJGES team members in the field.

AJGES team members in the field.

For the past five years, AJGES has focused on capacity building for young Senegalese geologists and environmentalists; participating in the management of natural resources, environmental protection; advancing the science of sustainable development; and raising public awareness about the importance of this work. After hearing about Thriving Earth Exchange and the community science process, Niang recognized that receiving additional training in community science methods could take the organization’s projects to the next level and help members align their expertise with community priorities to the benefit of all. 

To support teams outside of the U.S., Thriving Earth Exchange offers an online learning management system course. Following the course, participants are invited to schedule Q&A sessions with Natasha Udu-gama, Thriving Earth manager of community and international relations, to answer any questions and discuss best ways to adapt the community science approach for their region or country.

“AJGES approached Thriving Earth at Fall Meeting 2019, and we subsequently learned that they had the capacity, interest and time to go through our online training and live complementary guidance for an 8-week period,” said Udu-gama. “The AJGES group showed strong interest and quick aptitude when it came to Thriving Earth’s community science approach and I’m very pleased that they will soon be matching their first project to scientists to support a remote commune outside of Dakar.” 

The first project AJGES will tackle with these new skills is to identify soil management practices to restore farmland affected by salt buildup in Djilor, part of a broader effort to support sustainable agriculture in Senegal’s Fatick region. The project is currently seeking funding and is slated to start in 2022. 

Team members discuss plans for a project to combat salinization of agricultural land in Djilor, Senegal.

Team members discuss plans for a project to combat salinization of agricultural land in Djilor, Senegal.

Under the terms of the partnership, AJGES has committed to complete two community science projects within two years, with help from Thriving Earth Exchange. From start to finish, a project entails identifying community partners and priorities, using geology and environmental science to meet those priorities, building teams of and managing communication between scientists and community leads, and sharing results so that other communities can learn from, adapt —and even replicate—successful projects.

In addition to pursuing community science projects, AJGES members involved with the Thriving Earth partnership are also training their colleagues to become community science program managers and working to adapt the community science process for the Senegalese context. 

AJGES is one of six active international partners of Thriving Earth Exchange, which runs an emerging program to build community science capacity for organizations outside of the U.S. Thriving Earth Exchange has also facilitated 10 international community science projects managed by Thriving Earth staff based in Washington, DC. 

Learn more about how organizations outside the U.S. can work with Thriving Earth Exchange.

Haley McKey editor

Leave a Reply