Lucia He's Blogs

  • The Search for the Sacred Woods

    Senegal’s southern Casamance region is one torn by a decades-long conflict. Separated from the rest of the country by the Gambia, residents of the southern Senegalese community often felt economically and politically marginalized. It is this feeling of abandonment that prompted the rise of the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) in the early ’80s. The MFDC’s call for independence from the national government led to a violent conflict between rebels and the Senegalese state that extended until 2014, when a ceasefire was declared. Throughout the conflict, women in Casamance played a key role in the region’s peacemaking process, promoting dialogue between rebel groups and the national government, and raising awareness about the impacts of war on local communities. To find strength and courage in their fight, women often turned to a special place: the bois sacr...

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