* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
What happens when we leave an intervention country?
Terre des hommes (Tdh) development projects are made to last. The Foundation works directly with local actors to strengthen their skills in the field of child protection. This participatory approach is aimed at making the population the agents of change. So when Tdh left Senegal, the delegation worked with eleven animators on the sustainability of their projects beyond the departure date of Tdh in early 2014. Back to the stages of the closure of the delegation in Senegal.
Present in northern Senegal since the 1980s, the Foundation has developed mother and child health projects while conducting preventative health work among communities so that people adopt good hygiene practices. Through visits to remote areas, Tdh animators made people aware of the importance of key areas of health and nutrition in order to guarantee the sustainability of their projects.
Ensuring the sustainability of projects
After 26 years of service in Senegal, Tdh is shifting its focus by concentrating solely on specialised care projects (http://www.tdh.ch/en/topics/health/specialised-care). During the transitional year, the Foundation has thus ensured the continuity of the improvement of health conditions for the population, in particular, by training health care professionals. Tdh has passed the baton to eleven animators who together have formed their own organisation: ASACOM (http://groupeasacom.org/) (Association of community health animators). The Foundation has supported them through workshops in which the roles and tasks of each member was discussed. Tdh has also helped the new organisation set up a website. Finally, the new animators have been able to keep all the office equipment and a motorcycle to get around.
Today, these animators are ensuring the continuation of the work to raise awareness among local communities regarding a sustainable change in behaviour and they are also making their knowledge and know-how available to others in Senegal.
Participation and independence as values
Terre des hommes is making every effort to ensure that the results of its commitment benefit the population, regardless of its presence on the ground. Tdh therefore promotes a participatory approach through which the population contributes greatly. In addition, the Foundation is supporting local and national institutions so that they assume responsibility for the protection of children’s rights and that they have the means to respond independently to the population’s needs.
In Mozambique, the organisation and Tdh partner “Case Amiga de Criança” (http://www.acaccrianca.org/) has been able to carry on from Tdh and continues, independently, to develop psychosocial activities for 830 children in the neighbourhood of Macurungo in Beria.
Every year, Terre des hommes offers sustainable solutions and a better future for over two million children and their relatives. Sign up to our newsletter to find out more about our development projects (http://www.tdh.ch/en/subscribers/new).