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Exhibition on "Access to rights"

AVED is a French acronym standing for “Village association for education and development”. It was set up by villagers from Maka-Colibantan in Senegal and works with the Colibantan Association in France. Together they have created an exhibition entitled “Access to rights: a universal right”.

“It’s an educational approach. We chose the inhabitants of Colibatan to bear witness according to their occupation. Kalipha is a farmer and presents the environment. Fanta Ba is a mother who does market gardening during the dry season, and she talks about the right to eat. Tida spends a lot of time cooking to prepare meals on a rota system with other women in her family, and she talks about the right to energy. Kello had a serious accident that forced him to stop his education, and he talks about the right to healthcare. Children’s rights are also an important concern for us. We wanted to let them have their say, because sometimes they are in a difficult situation, e.g. children deprived of their father because he has emigrated. Several children from the village expressed their point of view about this right.

The main aim of the exhibition was to enable villagers from Maka-Colibantan and elsewhere to become aware of their rights, and to get to know each other better. We also wanted to raise awareness amongst local and territorial authorities. Rights entail duties. My children have a right to an education, and as their father it is my duty to enable that to happen. But it is also the duty of the community and its leaders to enable this to happen.

It is a participatory exhibition. The photos of people involved in preparing the exhibition acknowledge their participation, and they are proud of that.

The exhibition is open to the public on a permanent basis at the “Lamine Nano Yock” Village Training and Activities Centre at Maka-Colibantan. When strangers arrive from surrounding villages, further afield or anywhere else during the religious celebrations that take place in our village, they go round the Centre where the exhibition is on show. When they see it they are impressed by the fact that the villagers talk about rights in a clear manner.

We would like the authorities to change the way they consider the population with regard to its rights, and be motivated to grant us these rights. There has not yet been any collective response or reaction. We are educating the population to become citizens benefiting from Human Rights. Becoming a citizen is a gradual process of construction. The exhibition contributes to this process since it asks visitors questions. When the villagers discover it, they start to talk to each other.

We plan to take the exhibition to neighbouring villages, and last December two French journalists came to make a documentary film, the aim of which is to show how access to rights is progressing in our community.”

Kalipha A. from AVED and Bruno S. from the Colibantan association, Senegal.

“We also created the exhibition so that it can be used in France to contribute to development education, particularly in the “Pays de la Loire” region. With these portraits of men, women and children, the idea is for visitors to ask themselves more questions about how real their rights are, and about the inequalities and differences compared to people in the South. We also want to motivate people to become involved and take action to build more solidarity. Given the current situation in Europe and the arrival of many migrants in a difficult context, it is important to help citizens find a meaning and look differently at these people seeking rights and life.”

Bruno S., Senegal