Senegal is one of the 45 participating countries in the Phase 2 of the Global Support Initiative to territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCA-GSI) – a rapid response initiative to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the eight ICCA-GSI Phase 2 projects in the country is in the Lowé territory and area conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCA). The Lowé ICCA is a 385-hectare green corridor that is located in the Sédhiou region of Southern Senegal and stretches up to the Gambia. Within the ICCA is the 6-hectare Lowé forest which indigenous peoples refer to as a place where secrets are kept.
To cope with and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the SGP and its partner NGO, GIE JOKKO, consulted with the federation of traditional medicine to identify products based on local knowledge and medicinal plants as well as test new ideas.
To this end, the Répertoire des Plantes Médicinales (Directory of Medicinal Plants) was developed and provides an ethnobotanical analysis of a full range of plants identified for various diseases and ailments, including those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a result of many studies and interviews conducted with an array of stakeholders including Imam Mamadou Seydou Diallo (president of the ICCA of Lowé), indigenous peoples and local communities living in villages surrounding the Lowé ICCA forest (Diallocounda, Medina France, Kanicounda and Boudouck villages), women's groups, healers, religious leaders, customary authorities, representatives of Senegal’s Water and Forestry services, amongst others. The intellectual property of this directory belongs to the indigenous peoples and local communities of Lowé ICCA, the heirs of the traditional therapeutic knowledge and guardians of the ancestral, cultural, and religious treasure of knowledge, tradition, and know-how.
Furthermore, since traditional knowledge is orally passed down from one generation to another, this documentation also serves as a protection of ancestral knowledge that can be easily referred to and enjoyed by future generations.
This publication is primarily intended for the populations of the Lowé area and its surrounding villages, and for practitioners and experts in traditional medicine. It is also aimed at health professionals including doctors, pharmacists, “bàjjenu gox” (community counselor), midwives, and other health workers. Lastly, the range of information it offers could be valuable to civil society such as non-government organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), academia, and other local and national authorities active in the promotion of traditional medicine.
An English version is currently being finalized.