Interview with Madam Khady FALL TALL
- October 18, 2016
”A remarkable woman, a woman of action, a visionary…that’s what Madam Khady Fall Tall is! She is the Chairman of the West African Women Association (WAWA)doing incredible work for the woman of West Africa. The benefit of her commendablework spreads over 16 West African countries. We had the good fortune of havingMadame Tall with us. Read this memorable interview to know her better.”
Tell us about the beginning of WAWA and what are thecore factors which actually gave birth to WAWA?
Thank you very much. First of all I would like to introducemyself, I am the Chair Person for The West Africa Woman Associationwhich is in French known as Association des Femmes de l’Afriquede l’Ouest. This Association covers 16 countries concerning the lifeof woman, their problems, the priorities which must be addressed fortheir development. So, we must understand that in 2005 when wehad started we had not only created this organization but also hadgiven it an exceptional definition of a regional NGO working for thewoman, their development and empowerment. And, it is in July 2005that we had created this association in Dakar in presence of the higherauthorities of the country including the Head of State.
What are the aims and targets of WAWA?
The vision of the WAWA is to have the institution where womanare considered as the development actors and who act to change thethinking and life of the society. They must be recognized as they cando many things but they should have a real place in the society and ourvision is to achieve this.If I talk about our mission, it is to work in an operation, indigenousand exogenous manner as our mission inside and outside Africa in orderto execute this vision and mission which allow us to feel proud on thecreation of this organization. We have created it to change the thingswhich are working and not working till date.
Which are the areas of African woman’s life thatWAWA aims to develop?
It is to reduce the poverty, even before the development it aims atreducing the poverty particularly in Africa where the 70% of womanare illiterate and they cannot read, write and solve their problems; it isour main focus. But with the work on development, we can develop andimprove the status of woman with the help of skill development evenif they have never been to school. We want them to be independent andlearn to work rigorously. They can do this without any prior schooltraining. And this explains our relation with INDOCORP to have thematerials and equipments allowing them to manipulate the materialto have the results.
How many people approximately are involved inthe workings of WAWA across the 16 countries of WestAfrica?
I consider that each country has its own office but the objective isnot only having the office, organization has to be the mass organizationto mobilize the woman population. We cannot count the numbers butyes there is staff like Diarra which are payable. All the woman who arethere for the development is almost 5000 each country and each countrydevelops with team over there. So, this is the reason we are very proud ofto have this organization at this position with the help of representation indifferent countries to touch the thousands and thousands of woman withthe name of AFAO in the West African countries. We have direct and indirect beneficiaries and members. And there can be 50 to 300 womanunder the member of AFAO. So we must calculate the number directlyand indirectly as well.
What are the plans of WAWA in the next few years?
To push the civil societies in Africa and particularly the womanassociation to work on the concrete domain which will lead to thedevelopment. This is our vision and we have already made an importantinvestment for this. We have an incubator centre, a guest house for thewoman who are trained and a hall for the processing of products. Thisall belongs to WAWA and we have not seen any organization with thesefacilities. So, our ambition is much more beyond than that of a civilsociety in Africa.
How was your experience working with the teamof Indocorp? Do you think Indocorp can significantlycontribute to the growth and development of WAWA insome way?
We are in contact with Indocorp since last 2 years. We are going towork with Indocorp in future as well and that’s why we are here in India. We bought processing machines from Indocorp and now we are here toreinforce this co-operation and know more about the Indocorp and itsteam. We were eager to know what more Indocorp can do for us apartfrom cashew processing unit and other sectors in which WAWA canenter in contact with this firm. I have already shared the interest in soapmaking, de-feathering, tomato processing and mainly the packagingwhich is required for all the processing products. We were awardedfrom the Islamic Development Bank in 2015. We want to introduceIndocorp as our partner in other institutions as well to collaborate withother big and renowned organizations like WAWA. We will exchangethe contacts of Indocorp with pleasure to other regions and countries.
How fruitful was your visit to India?
It was exceptional. We have visited 3 factories in Ahmedabad andwe learnt 2 things. First, is the advancement in technology, leadershipof India in comparison to other countries and thanks to Indocorp whohelped us in exploring this opportunity. Secondly, the density, we sawthat cashew is not a small thing which we used to think in Senegal. Itis like a luxury product, which enhance and let us continue our positionas a pioneer. And, India is into this sector since quite long to help and guide us. Thirdly, it is the leadership quality of Indocorp; we wereaccompanied by the Indocorp professional but we had a terrible day interms of tiredness but exceptional in terms of results and exploration.Indocorp could have given us the address of the factories only but it hasdone everything for us to make our visit comfortable and it is anotherform of leadership. Everything was well organized and we appreciatethe same. We have explored a lot and have well seen the technology.We have seen the machines in action and there were some machineswhich we have never seen till date for example: the decorticator. We arelooking for the efficiency and quality at the same time.
Your organization is doing an incredible job in WestAfrica. Do you have any plans of expansion in theother parts of the continent so that the entire continentbenefits from your endeavours?
Sometimes, it is not the priority of the State to benefit the woman.If Indocorp has any action plan to empower the woman and if it hasalready identified the sectors to train the woman, we will surely liketo collaborate to work in other countries as well and make the womanpopulation self-independent. The youth of a country is like our ownchildren. I am present in almost all countries of West Africa. We areconcerned about the empowerment and employment for youth. Asthere is lack of employment and poverty, youth is getting into activitiesterrorism. Being a NGO, we are very sensible on these issues.
Nurturing women’s work force to createentrepreneurship is a noble and rewarding activity. Isthe government playing a significant role in providingfunds to WAWA?
Unfortunately no; being the NGO we are not obliged to work withthe state, even the state is not obliged to accompany us. But now, as weare in 2016 the Government has begun to see why they must accompanyNGOs; we are not dependent on the State. Our partners are internationalorganizations who offer funds for our projects. We never regret for nothaving any help from the Government. Although our head office is verynear to the Government of Senegal. We are working with a humanitarianobjective and we never contact any organization to help us financially.Last time, World Bank offered us $30,000 to finance our project whichwe have executed with Indocorp.
Tell us something about the vertical in which youreceive the most funds? Why do you think it happens?
We receive the funds mainly from international organizations likeWorld Bank, USAID, BAD etc. They financed our agricultural projects.Luckily, these institutions understand that development is not only doneby the private sector, some think to only develop the private sector. Thereis a humanitarian part which is not accessible to the private sector. It isalso important to invest on those who have never been to school, who areilliterate. We want to remove inequality and poverty from the society.
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