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Rwanda, Uganda

South Africa

South Africa

South Africa






Today, President Clinton visits Senegal, the last country in his trip through Africa. Major events of his day include:

Bilateral Meeting and Reception with President Diouf
ACRI Training Exercises Visit
Dal Diam Village Visit

Bilateral Meeting and Reception with President Diouf

President Clinton meets with Senegalese President Diouf at the Presidential Palace. The Presidential Palace was completed in 1907 and served as the residence of the governors of French West Africa until April 1960, just after Senegal's independence. Since that time, the Palace has served successively as the official residence and offices of Presidents Leopold Sedar Senghor and Abdou Diouf.

The outside of the Palace is a tourist site for visitors to Dakar, much like the White House; however, public tours of the inside of the Palace are not conducted. Unlike in many other African countries, visitors are encouraged to photograph the Palace and the strikingly attired presidential guards. The interior retains its original French flair, but is decorated with Senegalese art, most notably tapestries.

ACRI Training Exercises Visit

President Clinton visits the Thies [CHESS] Military Base to observe U.S. Army Special Forces troops conducting peacekeeping and humanitarian relief training exercises with select Senegalese troops as part of the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI). He will also review a group of Senegalese troops, including "gendarmes," who served as peacekeepers in Haiti and Bosnia. After observing the exercises, the President will deliver brief remarks to the assembled troops honoring their efforts and recognizing Senegal's commitment to peacekeeping worldwide.

The Thies Military base, formerly a French military facility, now serves as the primary training ground for the Senegalese military. It houses Senegal's military academy and infantry school, and is home to a commando and medical unit.

Senegal was one of the first African nations to embrace ACRI. Along with Uganda, Senegal also hosted the first ACRI training, in August and September of 1997. Senegal has participated with professional distinction in peacekeeping operations since the Katanga secession from the Congo in 1963. Its experience now includes Bosnia, Haiti, Liberia, Rwanda, the Sinai and Lebanon. It was the first sub-Saharan African country to offer troops to Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Dal Diam Village Visit

President Clinton visits the village of Dal Diam [doll-DJAAM] is 20 kilometers north of Thies and 50 kilometers east of Dakar on the road to St. Louis, Senegal's second largest city. Dal Diam, which has struggled for survival for two decades, is a typical small village in rural Senegal, with a population of approximately 250. The already difficult life of the villagers -- mostly subsistence farmers -- has become even more challenging due to severe drought, soil erosion, lack of credit and inadequate health and educational services. In the past, limited opportunities forced village men and youth to cities in search of work. The people of Dal Diam are special, however, because they have reversed this trend.

In 1993, a group of village women joined in a USAID-funded integrated rural development project run by the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). NCNW is a Washington, D.C.-based, non-profit organization, founded in 1935 by Mary McCloud Bethune and currently headed by Dr. Dorothy Height. Its mission is to help women improve personal and family quality of life. From 1993-96, the NCNW provided approximately $230,000 in training, equipment and material with the help of Tostan, a Senegal-based non-governmental organization and the Rodale Institute, an environmental non-governmental organization based in Pennsylvania.

With this assistance, the villagers of Dal Diam increased their access to drinking water with a new well; established a health center; constructed latrines; launched gardening and livestock-raising enterprises; provided literacy training for adults and children; set up a cooperative village store; introduced a micro-enterprise savings and credit system; and initiated a variety of efforts to reverse environmental degradation. With new educational and economic opportunities in the village, the exodus from Dal Diam has been reversed.

Dal Diam represents grassroots civil society at its best. Building on the skills and knowledge gained through NCNW's program, village women have expanded into new areas, such as establishing their own savings and credit program.

All of the unique aspects that make Dal Diam an example of sustainable development will be highlighted in the Senegalese tradition of a "skit" which will demonstrate aspects of rural governance, decentralization and grassroots democracy.

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