The island of Diogué, at the mouth of the Casamance River, has lost 15 hectares in the past ten years. But its inhabitants have managed to regain dozens of metres of beach.
“In two years, we’ve recovered 20 metres of beach at the military camp, which has returned to its 2011 level,” says Patrick Chevalier, a retired economist who is heavily involved in the battle against coastal erosion in Basse-Casamance.
Diogué is located at the mouth of the Casamance River, and has no cover from mangroves or a sand spit to protect it from the ocean. This geographical position has long attracted fishermen of all nationalities, but what once made the island attractive has now turned against it. The primary school has already had to be relocated twice, as has the lighthouse.
“We drive in dozens of stakes in the areas at risk, at the base of which we braid coconut or palm leaves to allow sediment to settle as the tides pass,” explains Lamine Sagna, headmaster of Diogué primary school, who takes measurements every week with his pupils and replaces any damaged stakes.
Proving that local initiatives are increasingly being taken into account by major organisations, the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA+), which is working on a second project phase called ‘climate change and integrated coastal zone management in Senegal’, is looking to involve local communities at every stage of its projects, in order to ensure that the results are sustainable.
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