Interview with Binetou Diagne
jnnam | 2012-01-28 16:38
A former AfricaAdapt Knowledge Sharing Officer shares her experiences
Who is Binetou and how did you join AfricaAdapt?
I’m a young African woman who is interested in ecology and fascinated by the beauty of African wildlife and nature. While I was pursuing my Masters in International Marketing I was involved in several environmental youth organizations. When I finished my studies, I knew I did not want to work for the private sector, but for a cause I support. That is how I joined the AfricaAdapt network.
KSOs have been referred to as network drivers. What were you engaged in on a day-to-day basis?
My day mainly consisted of responding to emails from members, updating the website with news and opportunities for network members, and adding relevant resources on climate change. I also managed the first two editions of the AfricaAdapt Knowledge Sharing Innovation Fund. Managing the Fund was quite challenging, but it was very rewarding to see the projects coming to life and knowing that the network was contributing to positive change within local communities across Africa.
What are your most memorable experiences as a KSO?
I think the most memorable experiences were the field visits to meet communities already facing the impacts of climate change. I liked those moments because I was close to the communities and could really ‘see’ and ‘feel’ their day-to-day challenges. I learned a lot from those exchanges and I have a lot of respect for these men and women who are truly knowledgeable [on climate change], yet very humble.
What was most challenging?
The most challenging aspect of my job was being part of a KSO team spread in different corners of the continent. We hardly saw each other and mostly worked online. The annual project team meetings provided an opportunity to discuss the network challenges face-to-face, but for KSOs, it was an excellent excuse to spend time together. I think the friendship and trust that the KSO team built over the past 3 years helped keep it together solidly.
What would you like to see AfricaAdapt doing more of or differently in the future?
I would like to see the network engaging more with its members through online discussions on the platform and face-to-face interactions like meet and greets. The most successful events we have organized were face-to-face and I would wish for more of them, as they promote the gathering and sharing of relevant knowledge in the right formats that can be easily understood and hence put to use.
Where do you go from here?
I have a passion for ancestral beauty rituals and African pharmacopoeia. I’m developing a line of natural bath and body products that respect the environment and are made of healing herbs, oils and butters of Africa. I'm really excited about the new experiences and challenges that are ahead!