In Dakar the choice of bicycles as main means of transport was both relevant and strategically sound. While electric, hybrid and biofuel vehicles are now penetrating markets in the developed world these vehicles are not yet common reality in Senegal and, yet, the challenges of climate change as a result of high carbon emissions and mobility are no secret. For these reasons Earth Day provided a unique occasion to engage local officials, businesses, NGO’s and the general public and raise awareness of alternative vehicles likely to address climate change challenges as well as those of mobility. In this respect CO2 Green Drive in Dakar managed to secure a number of partnerships including local NGO’s, institutions and cultural entities focusing on sustainability.
The CO2 Green Drive in central Dakar included 130 bicyclists and 25 young people from the Dakar VTT/Rollers Association participating on rollerblades and mountain bikes. As seen above, the convoy was headed by a MC escort.
Making one of the turns in the "CO2" route in the streets of Dakar.
And the rollerbladers from VTT/Rollers Association
In Dakar the Danish Cultural Institute was represented by the above Secretary General, Finn Andersen, and the Director of Strategy for CO2 Green Drive, Aziz Fall, who is also a native of Senegal. The celebration of Earth Day in Dakar on April 22nd began at the esplanade of the City Hall where LEAD Francophone Africa, Enda Tiers Monde, representatives from the Mayor’s Office as well as a number of other local organizations were present.
Above Mariama Guldagger from Danish NGO Cykler til Senegal was also present, singing a song and giving her blessings to the vision of sustainable transportation in Dakar.
To go back in time a couple of months before Earth Day and the above event in Dakar, a container was packed with Bikes in Denmark as part of Cykler til Senegal's mission of bringing bikes to Senegal.
The day began with an about 60 km bicycle ride between Copenhagen and Skibby by Aziz and Michael from CO2 Green Drive and Kristoffer and partner from Free Bikes. The bikes they rode on was put into the container and donated to Cykler to Senegal and their cause.
A similar bike ride was also done between Casamance and Dakar in connection to the Earth Day events. The ride featured a convoy of ten courageous members of the farmers association AAJAC/COLUFIFA that completed the approximately 350 km long route from Casamance to Dakar in five days. The oldest member was 64 year old Issa Diallo with the youngest member being the above 17 year old Aminata Diao who was also the only female member of the convoy.
“I feel ten years younger” , Issa Diallo remarked upon arrival in Dakar. “I wanted to show that sport is a healthy and important part of life – also for women. Women can do as much as men in this respect”, Aminata added in an interview to Mika from Danish NGO Cykler til Senegal that funded the bike ride and helped organize it.
Aziz and Finn was on TV, radio and various other local media outlets, along with taking meetings with an array of people to talk about the plans for future collaborations and exchanges between Denmark and Senegal. The above image is of Aziz and recently elected Minister of Culture in Senegal, the legendary musician Youssou N'Dour.