My name is Mansour Fall. I am a doctoral candidate in Geography. My area of specialization is the study of risks associated with individual and collective ownership around water. This is an area that explores the relationship between water and man and it touches several dimensions: survival, wealth, power and beliefs.
I am inspired by the metaphysical dimension around water in Senegal due to the fact that when water is associated with metaphysical dimension, it requires all the attention and all precautions in order to protect and preserve it.
I grew up in central Senegal, where rain water during the rainy season brings hope to the community. Its arrival is preceded by incantations for abundance of rain and prohibition to beat tam tam.
I did my graduate studies in northern Senegal where water is abundant. It flows from the river; we have too much of it – when it overflows on homes and fields. According to the communities, this is not the consequence of heavy rainfall upstream but the wrath of supernatural beings who reside in the river.
Here in Senegal, water is not only vital for humans. It is a catalyst for a lifestyle where modernity and tradition as well as religious faith and paganism oppose, combine and complement each other in the lives of individuals. This aspect of people’s lives greatly interested me.
To build a bridge across the main river in the country, sacrifices were made: an ox was killed and thrown as an offering in the river; this operation was financed and supervised entirely by a company that is not even local. In the approach of the rainy season, leaders are very attentive to preachers’ recommendation for a good season.
Today as I am practicing water management in a professional context, I am impressed by the beliefs and rituals around water, and the unanimity around these beliefs whose survival has the advantage of preserving and protecting resources.
Today I see a way out of the ordinary, to tap around endogenous values, to build protection models for sustainable water resources that will protect water resources against excessive extraction of water and pollution.
Fall Mansour is one of the 10 young champions who will work on the “ Measuring success ” Landscape challenge with Youth program’s partner: UNEP-DHI.