WHY A NATIONAL CONTEST FOR INNOVATIVE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PRACTICES?

Oumar Wade, Alessandra Pierella

Abstract


The first edition of the National Contest (NC) on innovative practices in local development was organized by Senegal’s Ministry for Local Governance, Development and Territorial Planning (MGTDAT) as part of the project “Connaissance Innovatrice et Développement Local – CIDEL” ( Innovative Knowledge and Local Development), funded by the Italian Government. The Contest aimed to identify and capitalize innovative experiences concerning local development in Senegal to facilitate their dissemination at a national and international level. It was also a way to establish a strategic partnership between researchers and public institutions promoting the engagement of universities in the development process of their territories.

This article recounts the history and characteristics of this initiative. The first part describes the methodology and approach that were employed; the second part illustrates what can be considered a major innovation of the contest, namely the multiplicity of actors involved in the process.

This mechanism, multi actors with variable geometry, was one of the real strengths of this activity that had the merit of bringing together categories of actors who are typically disconnected and compartmentalised. It also provided a concrete opportunity to involve researchers and students in discovering and documenting significant development experiences at the territorial level, with their potential and challenges, so that these can be taken into consideration in making policy decisions about local development and so that knowledge about local development in Senegal can be further incorporated into university teaching and research.


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