Of Solidarity and Endless Enthusiasm
Giant, educator, pioneer and visionary in empowering women of rural areas through impactful achievements: co-operatives, mutual health and credit unions.
Binta Sarr, a native of Kaolack, was a woman in her sixties still active despite health problems. She continued to go into the field, especially for conferences and training. She was highly respected by her community and known around the world, thanks to her tangible achievements.
As a member of civil society, she was a member of the Citizen Committee of the National Assizes of 2012 for the Kaolack region. She remains committed to citizen action, because according to her, political parties do not respond to her aspirations.
Binta Sarr was the head of the women's section of the "Magg Daan" association in her neighborhood while holding the position of Regional Head of Hydraulics in the public service.
Young women in the women's section of that organization created APROFES in 1988, after having carried out reflections to set up an autonomous structure made up entirely of women, with the role of addressing the challenges of women's economic empowerment as well as promoting their rights.
In the 2000s, the association became an NGO.
Binta Sarr was the President of the Board of Directors of the Association for the Advancement of Senegalese Women (APROFES) which works mainly on women's rights, for the promotion of women's leadership and access to decision-making bodies.
Binta gave up a great career as an engineer to work modestly with rural women's communities
According to Ms. Ndao, director of the APROFES TERANGA credit unions, it is the depth of her feminist commitment that made her choose to pursue the associative project rather than remain within the administration;
and she had done an impressive job, no doubt by bringing her rigor as an engineer and her dedication to the project, going much further than many women's associations throughout Senegal in vision and ambition: the creation of cooperatives and two health and credit cooperatives, because it was always difficult to find funding for the association. In addition, the NGO set up a speaking/listening space for women who were victims of violence.
The association is managed only by women and intervenes within thirty-five villages in the Kaolack region in projects including literacy, construction of latrines, agricultural programs to ensure food security, and consciousness discussions on women's rights.
This association working for the promotion of Senegalese women was created from the idea that women face difficulties not only in the area of enjoying their basic rights, but also access to credit, land and to positions of responsibility.
Binta Sarr’s story is the story of continuous women's solidarity and of a determination which has led to an undeniable success on this path of solidarity.
She affirmed that without the participation of women, Senegal will not be able to evolve and grow, as women make up half of the population (51%). That is why it is important for them to be able to take responsibility within state institutions.
Despite the advent of the parity law passed in 2010, this provision is still not effective. For example, today, most women who have access to municipal counselling positions do not attend the municipal councils.
Elected women to office positions need to work for the benefit of the community, taking into account the interests of men and women and not only those of political parties. Their first role is to advocate for the respect of women's interests who are most generally marginalized.
Binta passed away on September 15, 2019.
Will remain of you...
Will remain of you what you have given
Instead of keeping it in rusty safes
What you have given in others will blossom
What remains of you is what you gave
Between open arms one morning in the sun
Will remain of you a shed tears
A smile germinated on the eyes of your heart
Will remain of you what you have sown
And shared with the beggars of happiness
What you have sown in others will germinate
He who had lost his life, one day will find it (French Original version by Simone Veil)
(Par Simone Veil)