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African Changemakers Gather in Senegal to Explore Wellbeing

A unique gathering on wellbeing in the African context

by Victor Adetimilehin

African social change agents, wellbeing experts, policy makers, community leaders, artists and young leaders are meeting in Thiès, Senegal, for a unique gathering on wellbeing. The event, dubbed “The Wellbeing Summit Dakar-Thiès 2023”, is hosted by Tostan, a Senegal-based community development organisation, in partnership with The Wellbeing Project, a global initiative that supports the wellbeing of social change makers.

The summit, which runs from 29th November to 1st December 2023, is part of a series of regional wellbeing summits launched by The Wellbeing Project in different parts of the world. The aim is to foster a culture of wellbeing among those who work at the forefront of sustainable development efforts in their communities, and who often face enormous challenges that threaten their physical, mental and emotional health.

According to the World Health Organization, Africa has the highest rate of depression and anxiety disorders in the world, affecting about 100 million people. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, as many people have lost their livelihoods, faced increased violence and insecurity, and suffered from isolation and stigma. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for more resilient and inclusive societies that can cope with crises and promote wellbeing for all.

The Wellbeing Summit Dakar-Thiès 2023 will address a variety of topics, such as the role of spirituality in wellbeing, youth mental health, intergenerational trauma, social norms and community development, activism and feminism, environment and sustainability, pan-Africanism, and art therapy for wellbeing. The summit will also explore how different forms of creative expression, whether traditional or contemporary, contribute to individual and collective wellbeing. Hence, contemporary art installations, dance and painting workshops, concerts and theatre will be part of the summit, offering participants a unique experience in the exploration of individual and collective wellbeing.

Speakers, including leading civil society actors, government representatives, academics, health professionals, entrepreneurs and activists from across the continent, will share their personal experiences of wellbeing as well as local practices that promote a holistic approach to sustainable social change in the African context. In addition to panel discussions, interactive collective experiences will help foster self-reflection on inner wellbeing while exploring an African vision of wellbeing.

“Building on more than thirty years of commitment to fostering community wellbeing, Tostan is proud to host this major African gathering that will provide a space for sharing and deep reflection on wellbeing in line with our African values and identity. We believe that by coming together and sharing our collective wisdom, we can foster lasting positive social change in our communities”, Carina Ndiaye, Chief Partnerships Officer at Tostan, said.

“After visiting the US, Colombia, Brazil, and Belgium for four incredible, deeply-needed gatherings, the Wellbeing Summit is now happening in Senegal. We cannot be more thrilled to have Tostan host the first Regional Wellbeing Summit in Africa. In bringing together changemakers from all walks of life, we look forward to this Summit serving as a spark to help ignite a transformative wellbeing movement in Africa,” Aaron Pereira and Sandrine Woitrin, Co-Leads, The Wellbeing Project, said.

“By leading positive social change in their communities, youth are playing a pivotal note in the symphony of wellbeing in Africa. Their voices will resonate deeply at the Summit, as the exchanges will undoubtedly shape our vision of physical, mental and social wellbeing for all,” Sobel Aziz Ngom, President of Consortium Jeunesse Sénégal (CJS) and Speaker at Wellbeing Summit Dakar-Thiès, said.

The summit is expected to inspire and empower participants to integrate wellbeing into their personal and professional lives, as well as to advocate for wellbeing policies and practices at the local, national and regional levels. The summit will also create a network of wellbeing champions who will continue to collaborate and support each other in their wellbeing journeys.

The summit is a testament to the resilience and creativity of the African people, who have overcome many adversities and continue to strive for a better future for themselves and their communities.

Source: Graphic Online

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