Conjugating the Charter in West Africa
2007 Report / 2008 Activities
In the 2006 Report we had stated, “One of our major concerns was to avoid that work on the Charter should make sure it would not appear as an abstract philosophical theory that could only be understood by those who are accustomed to this kind of thinking. So we had to review our approach so as not to fall on discussions that only insiders would be interested in.”
We were thus able to fine tune our approach and readjust the activities plan by facing reality on the field, and thanks to the experiences we were able to embrace and the opportunities we were offered (participation at the Latin American Migrants Forum, for instance). The experience we acquired in our activities made it possible for us to articulate the different charters ensuing from the Charter of Human Responsibilities (which we consider as the “Mother Charter”):
1 - Popularization of the rap version of the Charter
... Called “rapalliance” by the youngsters at different concerts and on the radio. A highly successful initiative, as much for its content as for its unusual form (hip-hop purists refuse to grant it the “rap” label). This success has been difficult to assume because we have been invaded by rap bands that have taken up the Charter text and offer us new interpretations every day. This rush to the CERPAC has been swelled by the fact that we currently have a recording studio, which is an opportunity for youngsters to produce demos to be able to publicize their work. In 2008, we will be endeavoring to get the most out of this infatuation.
2 - Working with children
We used “Children’s Day” as an opportunity to organize, along with a community neighborhood organization, an award-granting ceremony for the best schoolchildren. It was also a chance to articulate “children’s rights” and the Charter of Responsibilities, in the sense that the present should not compromise the future, that the Earth does not belong to us, as we have borrowed it from our grandchildren. Here too, the Charter was interpreted by children in a song.
3 - Film on clandestine migration
Our participation at the Latin American Migrants Forum in Morelia (Mexico) in 2007 and the dramatic turn that clandestine migration has taken in Senegal convinced us to work on the Migrants Charter project connected to the Charter of Human Responsibilities. Indeed in Senegal, thousands of young people are trying to reach the Spanish coasts in crafts of fortune (dugouts and kayaks). A real human tragedy because thousands of young people have also sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. This movement has continued to grow in the face of police patrols and media campaigns. With the help of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM), we were able to enter the world of clandestine migrants in Senegal to understand the phenomenon. This survey gave way to a film on what is called here, “dem walla dee” or “leave or die”. One of our findings was: the young people who face the ocean at the risk of their lives are altruists, i.e. they take up the adventure not to become richer individually, but to make it possible for others to simply live (their children, their parents), leaving themselves out of the benefits. This film should comprise two sequences: one in Senegal (completed), and another in the migration destination countries (Spain, Italy). The first is already available. We hope to start part two in 2008 (Spain, Italy, and Portugal).
4 - Popularizing the Charter on a Pan-African and world scale
The facilitator, positioned at the crossing of several networks and working a lot on methods and tools, needs to become involved, sometimes intensely, with a number of networks and alliances. The work is about influencing and persuading the different players to integrate the Charter principles into their approach:
5 - Projects not completed
The Charter for Responsible Fishing: We had begun to work on the development of a Charter for Responsible Fishing, but work stopped with departure of our contact in the organization for the development of traditional fishing in West Africa, ADEPA. We no longer have a contact in this organization.
Action Plan 2008