Van Oord Empowering Local Communities in Saly in Senegal
Saly used to be one of the most popular touristic hotspots of Senegal. Unfortunately, the coastal community suffered from rising sea levels and other negative effects of accelerated climate change. When Van Oord arrived in the area, not many traces were left of the once buzzing holiday destination. The beach was gone, hotels had to use rocks and sand bags to protect themselves against the sea and tourists stayed away. Tourism is the main source of income for its 20,000 inhabitants and therefore its decline due to climate change had disastrous economic consequences. In addition, human interventions such as the construction of a small craft harbour and groynes upstream of the beaches disturbed the longshore sand transport and deposit downstream along Saly’s coast.
Van Oord was called in to reinforce the coastline and revitalise the area. The project aims to protect people, houses, economic and cultural infrastructure in the region against coastal erosion. During the project, we made sure local stakeholders were involved. We kept the local community informed and we employed local people, so that about 40% of the workforce was Senegalese. Once Van Oord started, locals immediately began using the beach, entrepreneurs set up small businesses again, hundreds of children could safely play on the beach and some even saw a beach for the first time in their lives. Finally, fisherman could work safely again.