What is it like in Guede Chantier, Senegal?

Jun 26, 14 What is it like in Guede Chantier, Senegal?

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Guédé Chantier is our new sister community in Senegal… What’s it like there?

Dr. Ousmane Aly Pame, mayor of Guédé Chantier and President of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Africa shares:

The setting is hot and dry, a desert environment with occasional sandstorms … quite harsh at it is as the threshold of the desert, yet it does have some respite with green spaces and a public garden. There are clay buildings, tomatoes and rice as primary crops, community fish farming and a sizable population of bees. Unfortunately, pesticides have been introduced to their farming practices, something they are hoping to reverse. Before the presence of Monsanto, all of the villages in the areas had gardens, and one of the intentions is to use systems such as the reed bed system Dr. Ousmane Aly Pame and Hamet Thial observed at the Damanhur nucleo community Porta della Luna. The intention for Guédé Chantier’s agricultural renovation is to increase the variety of plants and crops and also organic productions, which already began in 2008, though there are nearby conventional farming areas to convert to organic.

Guédé Chantier has a health center that was founded by the women of the community, where the knowledge and use of traditional medicine is being recuperated, and yet there is also need for modern medical infrastructure and equipment, such as an ambulance.

Guede youthThe youth of Guédé Chantier are educated to be active protagonists in civic duty and respect for the environment, participating in neighborhood clean-ups and anti-plastic days at school. A youth group “Les Éco-sentinelles” uses theatre to increase awareness of environmental and social issues, blending art and activism.

Ousman described the feeling of solidarity in the community fabric at Guédé Chantier, how the whole community comes together for sharing important moments and events, such as births and funerals. No one feels alone! There is a rich culture in this village, from dances to legends that are told through storytelling, theatre and song. They are also quite sensitive to subtle realms, perceiving the invisible beings that live near water for example. Although Ousman has had numerous experiences in international settings, teaching at the University of Exeter in the UK for example, he said that despite the material comforts of life there, he was constantly thinking of his people with concern and nostalgia, so in the end he returned to Senegal. He chooses to live there close to his community and people. Ousman says, “What is real security? SGuede circleome people find it in a bank account and a full refrigerator, but what about happiness? Here we have very little, though we share everything and are always smiling. We work together, eat together. Everyone is taken care of.” This spirit of richness in human connection, and security in sharing and solidarity is the spirit of the ecovillage movement, finding meaning and value beyond the material measures.

Guédé Chantier does have quite a lot of international contact and visitors, in rural campuses with Living Routes, Carthage College, the University of California Los Angeles, as well as several high schools. The eco-community also participates in the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) Africa and the Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) program.

The community leaders would like to increase their exchanges of technical knowledge as well as culture, through arts, crafts, music, myths and legends. Guédé Chantier shares our ideals for peace, bringing peoples of the planet together and preserving the ecosystem of the Earth, and it is with great honor and pride that we have become their sister community. We look forward to future sharing and continued friendship!


What is real security to you? What are the advantages of living a modern metropolitan life vs. an ecovillage one? Comment below…





  1. Matt /

    Wish I had been there to meet the Senegal community. I’m going to Kenya next summer to do volonteer work. Really curious about Africn communities and culture. Seemslike it is very natural to think like a community family for them. Maybe I’ll go to Guede Chantier sometime too. see you there?

    • Hi Matt! Wish you could have been here too! You are always welcome to come visit.

      In addition to our dear friends from Senegal, we also welcome the local Madagascar community for cultural nights sometimes.

      Enjoy your travels and service in Africa!