Global Redesign Project I: Le Kinkeliba
OVERVIEW Le Kinkeliba is a small but highly successful bottom-up medical and educational NGO aid organization founded in 1995 by Dr. Gilles Degois of Paris. Le Kinkeliba\’s projects are located in a remote and rural region of south eastern Senegal, West Africa. The regions lies south of Tambacounda, along the Gambia River and adjacent to Niokolo Koba National Park to the east, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The local community suffers from high rates of maternal mortality, malaria, infant mortality and other treatable diseases. Although Senegal is a relatively stable and secure country, it suffers from a high unemployment rate of 48% while 54% of the population lives below the poverty line. As we witness rapid urbanization, especially in cities like the capital Dakar, we cannot ignore the rural economy, culture, or population; in Senegal, agriculture makes up 78% of the labor force occupation. The key to a sustainable development strategy for the continent of Africa lies in a successful and effective retention of productivity in rural and agricultural communities. Currently many resourceful lands and shores are being bought up by multinational corporations, depriving communities in Africa a chance to achieve economic autonomy. The work of Le Kinkeliba addresses exactly these concerns.Dr. Degois\’s work started as a single person\’s mission, but by establishing personal connections, he has worked with numerous partners over the last 15 years and founded 8 centers to date. Unlike many other organizations, Dr. Degois recognized from the beginning the need to acknowledge the connectivity of the region\’s problems and the holistic solutions that would be required to address them. Therefore the facilities include medical clinics, a maternal health clinic, a kindergarten, a girls\’ residence and a farm school, which is a profitable market garden that produces fruit and honey. Le Kinkeliba also helps to participate in the upkeep of Niokolo Koba National Park. The organization is currently in the planning stages for another medial center, a boys\’ residence, and another kindergarten that will open in January 2010. Details of each center are in the appendix of this document. Today, Le Kinkeliba operates this network with an entirely Senegalese staff of highly trained, deeply dedicated doctors, nurses, midwives, teachers and specialists. This successful micro- organizational system empowers its community at the same time that it offers economic sustainability, education, and health care. It is a small yet powerful example of a rural organization that confronts and solves a community\’s complex and multifaceted issues in an efficient, caring, and ecological manner. Le Kinkeliba\’s next project, which is the subject of the studio, is the Kinkeliba Foundation. In 2005, Le Kinkeliba was given a spectacular site of nearly 100 acres by the Senegalese government, lying just 10 miles south of Le Kinkeliba\’s original medical center. This site, overlooking the Gambia River will be the setting of this new initiative. It will offer visual and performance artists, writers, scholars and others from all over the world a unique opportunity to converge in an extraordinary setting and work independently and inter-dependently. There is also a possibility of establishing a larger community through loosely conceived networking. The project is specific to the community of Le Kinkeliba, but touches upon the universal issues relating to the development of smaller and thus more humanely scaled rural communities.