Index de l'article

Le thème principal de Campus Plein Sud cette année met l'accent sur les héros dans «le Sud». Mundus maris focalise sa contribution sur les nombreux héros méconnus qui favorisent le développement et la solidarité dans leurs communautés sur une base quotidienne et qui font beaucoup pour améliorer les conditions de vie. Ils peuvent ne pas être largement connus, mais sans eux, le développement avanceraient beaucoup plus lentement.

  • 11 mars 2015, 16h00 à 18h00 Cours ouvert avec le Prof. Ariane Ramaekers: UB4.228 (Campus du Solbosch, bâtiment U; porte B; étage 4; locale 228)
  • 12 mars 2015, 19h00 ciné débat avec des boissons sur les femmes dans la pêche au Sénégal avec l'entretien vidéoavec Awa Seye, une dirigeante locale et nationale dans la pêche artisanale: Salle H3244 Campus du Solbosch

Soyez les bienvenu(e)s et partagez ces expériences!

Cours ouvert - Les héros méconnus du Sud dans la lutte pour le développement durable


Setting local activities and living into the wider context of the global structure and interaction between the ocean and the land - this was the key concern of the course given by Cornelia E Nauen and Aliou Sall of Mundus maris. The talk started by sharing some key parameters about these two large and diversified spaces that make up our living environment.

Prof. Ariane Ramaekers had invited Mundus maris again to give an open course to her class "Biology and Society". this was part of the Campus Plein Sud Programme at the Free University Brussels (ULB).

The talk started with a global overview illustrated by Cornelia E Nauen. Did you know that 71% of the surface of the Earth is covered by the ocean? This is why it's called the Blue Planet when you look at it from space. Did you know that the deepest trench in the ocean - the Mariana Trench - is deeper than the highest Mountain towers into the sky - Mount Everest? Did you know that we produce enough food for more than the 7 billion humans we are today? How come that almost one billion go hungry and more than one billion is seriously overweight?

Did you realise that social inequality and denial of legitimate rights is now probably the most serious obstacle to living sustainably and in tune with the land, the ocean and fellow humans? Research has shown blatant inequality to be a major source of waste and destruction.


These and other questions and information formed the context from which Aliou Sall homed in to tell the story of Awa Seye, an important leader in artisanal fisheries in Senegal, midwife and municipal councillor in her native Saint Louis.

The images tell a touching story and bring some of the physical and cultural conditions to live which might otherwise be difficult to understand only in terms of "cold" data.

The talk, that nicely turned more into a questions and answers exchange. Perhaps the most important message coming across was that many of the current crises and problems identified are not so much the result of a global conspiracy than the result of millions of small decisions. These may individually be harmless, even adapted to context. But altogether they create global effects.

Turn this insight around and find that even though any individual alone can not "solve" these really big and now interconnected crises in social, environmental and economic terms, but jumping to the conclusion not to do anything is a big mistake. Collectively we do have the chance to change for the better.

So, let's start - letting the baby fish grow to maturity - practising solidarity with the socially weak - recognise other cultures - saving energy to stabilise our climate - stop using plastic bags to avoid choking the ocean and its magnificent creatures.

That's a good way to start every day, every week, month and year! The ppt presentation (FR) is available here.

Une héroïne du Sud - Awa Seye, leader des femmes dans la pêche au Sénégal

Film debate


So short after International Women's Day (8 March) it was just the thing to do - present the video-interview with Awa Seye, leader of the women in artisanal fisheries in Senegal in which she tells her quite extra-ordinary story.

So, who is this unsung hero of "the South"?

She lost three children in child birth but then became a midwife, saving many newborn babies and their mothers. She faced many obstacles before carving out a role for her as a successful entrepreneur of her family fishing business.

She struggles with fellow women fish processor to keep access to essential beach space for their fish processing business defending it against encroaching tourism.The women are very resourceful and support each other.

She actively defends the rights and needs of her community of Guet NDar in Saint Louis in the municipal council.

She may not have had the chance to go to school but she is second to none in defending the interests for safety and healthy resources of the fishermen all over the country and promotes sending girls and boys
to school now to open up additional opportunities for their futures.

She also claimed greater political attention to the lot of the small-scale fishers who represent a large chunk of the national economy and a representation in the national assembly in order to become a more active and recognised part of the political decision-making process.


The interview lasted barely 20 minutes, but the ensuring lively debate went on for about two hours! Aliou Sall, Senegalese socio-anthropologist knows Awa Seye personally for many years and was able to give additional explanations about the living conditions in the fishing communities and their daily struggle. He also spoke about the erosion of authority at many levels and how this was making it difficult to reign in overcapacity and a gradual degradation of the natural and social environment.

Many speakers in the exchange recognised that these development issues were not merely of a tech-
nical but also of a political nature.

How can groups and entire countries define and defend their interests effectively in the face of strong financially and institutionally backed opposition from others? Should African groups and countries do more to shape international negotiations or is it enough to tag along once e.g. an economic partnership agreement has been agreed?

What else could be done to enhance the role and rights of women? Giving greater reach to their voices through e.g. such video interviews that recognise their role as social actors in their own right is certainly a step in the right direction.

The film debate was organised by Campus en Transition and Mundus maris as part of Campus Plein Sud 2015 at the ULB on 12 March. Watch the video with Awa Seye for yourselves on the YouTube channel of Mundus maris here.