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Life Saves the Planet

An Inspiring Grassroots Ecorestoration Approach: Sahel Ecovillage Communities

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Date and time
Thursday, July 27, 2023
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Dr. Ousmane Pame is founder of REDES Ecovillages based in Senegal. He talka about ecovillage communities in the Sahel region of Africa. and their global and regional contexts. The Sahel region includes Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and the Gambia. REDES is the leading, nonprofit, community-led regenerative organization in the fight against desertification and its negative socioeconomic impacts in the Senegal River Valley. REDES is catalyzing efforts and initiatives on both sides of River Senegal, which is the border between Senegal and Mauritania, to regenerate the ecosystems and improve community life in the region. There are now 100 ecovillages in the area. Dr Pame ia joined by Dr. Marie Nazon, Academic Programs Coordinator for REDES International Service Learning Program and Katrina Jeffries, International relations coordinator. Dr. Dave Damm Luhr moderates the conversation.

Dr Ousmane Aly Pame, is a lecturer of contemporary British drama and civilisation at Cheikh Anta Diop University( Dakar, Senegal) where he earned his PhD in 2002 and his Doctorat d’Etat in 2015. In addition to his academic courses and research, he designs and coordinates international academic programmes in ecovillages in Senegal. In 2009, Dr Pame was elected Mayor of Guede Chantier (a small rural town of 9000 inhabitants, North). During his five year mandate, he sought to transform Guede Chantier into an eco-community. He is a founding member of the Global Ecovillage Network /Africa (www.gen-africa.org) and presided over the pan African organization between 2012 and 2020. Dr Pame is also a founder and director of REDES (Network for Ecovillage Emergence and Development in the Sahel, www.redes-ecovillages.org).REDES partners with government agencies, local governments, international NGOs and Universities to implement a transborder ecovillage hub between Senegal and Mauritania, consisting of one hundred villages in Senegal River Valley.
Katrina D. Jeffries is an artist, consultant and lifelong philanthropist. She has an extensive background in the arts and years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She first met Dr. Ousmane Pame in 2019 through her connection with Dr. Marie Nazon. After a trip to Senegal to observe a service-learning program with students from the United States and Senegal, she fully understood the importance of the work Dr. Pame was engaged in. In February of 2020, Dr. Pame asked Katrina to join his virtual support team and in 2021 she became a permanent part of his staff. She is the international relations coordinator with REDES and is very deeply proud to be part of the efforts of many at REDES to restore the land, bring water to villages and provide resources to remote villages in northern Senegal, and Southern Mauritania.
Marie C. Nazon, Ph.D, LMSW, is a social worker with over thirty years of clinical experience in mental health. She is a member of the counseling faculty at TThe City College of New York SEEK program and a practicing psychotherapist. A Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and former Fulbright Scholar in Senegal, Dr. Nazon is passionate about women’s empowerment and has co-founded and led women’s support circles in Africa and in New York. She is committed to greening and sustainability of the planet by planting trees in Africa and Haiti. She has led study abroad programs and international service learning courses in Africa and the Caribbean. She currently serves as the Academic Programs Coordinator for REDES International Service Learning Program.
Dave Damm-Luhr, Ph.D., links his passion for environmental action with over 35 years supporting organizational leaders and teams grow and develop. Since retiring from Federal service, he has worked in state and local climate advocacy groups such as Elders Climate Action and Climate Action Brookline. In 2019 Dave helped organize a global "Climate Change and Consciousness" conference held at Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland, where he met Dr. Ousmane Pame. Along with many others globally, Dave has supported Dr. Pame in growing REDES Ecovillages' capacity and in helping college students in their REDES-focused, remote service learning experiences.

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