• 09 September 2021


    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Civil society: a key partner in the fight against racism and intolerance

    Civil society organisations and groups (CSO) are essential in the field of promoting human rights, equality and non-discrimination

    Imagen de recurso

    Florencia Gaya, a ‘Living together without discrimination’ project specialist and a member of the Spanish Observatory of Racism and Xenophobia (OBERAXE) with technical support responsibilities at the latter, explains what, in her opinion, the fundamental role of Civil Society Organisations is to build more tolerant societies and combat racism and discrimination.

    The value of the work of CSOs and the crucial role they play have been widely recognised by international and European organisations, which very often advocate for the need to generate synergies and actively collaborate with these agents to achieve significant progress in the fight against racism and discrimination¹.

    The  “Living together without discrimination” project, funded by the European Union in which FIIAPP participates, AECID and OBERAXE as a co-delegated institution, share this vision and purpose. The project supports and strengthens the ability of Moroccan non-governmental organisations working in the field of human rights to promote actions or continue with the important work of raising awareness, monitoring and reporting racist and xenophobic incidents, and assisting victims of these events.

    CSOs: key partners in the fight against racism, xenophobia and discrimination

    CSOs work with highly vulnerable groups which are susceptible to these types of attacks, they get a first-hand look at the situation and needs of these groups, giving people and groups suffering from racial or ethnic discrimination a voice, and assisting and accompanying them to claim their rights.

    CSOs also help to raise awareness throughout society, by highlighting the problem, pointing out the many ways in which racism and racial discrimination manifest in different spaces and settings.

    CSOs monitor government activities, demanding that state authorities act to correct inequalities and, because of their depth of knowledge and experience on the ground, offer advice to policy makers and guidance on the steps to take going forward, actively collaborating in public policy-making, measures and national action strategies in this matter.

    These and other reasons make them key pieces in the fight against racism, xenophobia and intolerance. Cooperating with grass roots organisations on the ground, forming alliances and establishing close dialogue with the people and communities affected by these practices is essential to address and respond appropriately to the typical types of racism, racial discrimination and intolerance in each country and context.

    The role of civil society in the fight against racism and intolerance

    Depending on their nature, characteristics, size, objectives, scale or on the level at which they act, CSOs can work in numerous areas to prevent and combat discrimination and intolerance. Among the strategies and courses of action most commonly employed are:

    Education and awareness raising: through awareness raising campaigns and social mobilisation, educational actions on human rights and publication and dissemination of resources, guides and themed documents. These actions can be international, national or local, in-house or in association with other organisations and bodies, and can be aimed at different targets (affected groups, key professionals in different sectors, all citizens).

    Education, training and empowerment: CSOs can play a key role in training, for example, of key agents (state security forces and bodies, legal operators, professionals in social intervention or communication, professionals in educational centres, etc.) to raise awareness of the reality of racism, promote better understanding of this phenomenon and provide them with appropriate tools to combat it. They can also empower potential victims and the groups that work with them so that they know their rights and the methods and resources available to enforce them.

    Support and assistance to victims: CSOs can provide information and assistance to victims, advising and supporting them regarding the steps to follow to deal with these situations.

    Reporting a complaint: CSOs can also report or help victims to file complaints about this behaviour to the courts (including assisting victims in litigation against these cases and in so-called strategic litigation).

    Monitoring, recording and notifying incidents: CSOs can generate systems for collecting information on incidents involving discrimination, racism, xenophobia and intolerance. They can gather information, investigate, document cases and prepare reports on the state of affairs, nature and magnitude of the problem. Collecting and organising information can serve as a tool to influence, support and advocate for the need to change existing policies and practices.

    Advice and technical assistance: because of their valuable knowledge and experience, CSOs can advise, make recommendations and provide guidance for public and private institutions and organisations.

    Advocacy: CSOs can also carry out advocacy actions with authorities at different levels to adopt measures to prevent and combat these practices, they can monitor equality and non-discrimination policies and legislation and help define and improve these measures.

    Networking: to optimise the results, CSOs can also work in partnership with other organisations and key actors to better coordinate and increase the effectiveness of their work.

    On 9 July, some examples of these actions were presented at an unprecedented meeting between Spanish and Moroccan civil society organisations to encourage exchanges of experiences in the fight against racism and xenophobia².

    Relevant organisations from both sides of the Mediterranean such as the “Movement against Intolerance”, the Rumiñahui Association and the Anti-racist Group for the support and defence of foreigners and migrants (GADEM) discussed and shared their vision on how CSOs can contribute and on  strategic initiatives to encourage lasting processes for change in this matter.

    Listening to them is always useful and inspiring: their sustained commitment, specialised knowledge, reflections and lessons learnt over time are a trigger that motivates and helps other organisations and individuals to decide to join this cause.

    United, we move forward at a slower pace

    but we do it better

    “United, we move forward at a slower pace, but we do it better” or why build alliances to confront racism and discrimination

    Racism, discrimination and intolerance are deeply ingrained in our societies. Helping to solve these problems is a shared responsibility that requires joint and continuous efforts by institutions, specialised agencies, social partners, civil society organisations and the private sector.

    In this sense, there is a consensus that to deal with these problems more effectively, it is essential to establish instruments and mechanisms for coordination between relevant public agents, to collaborate with CSOs, and encourage spaces for joint work.

    Hence the importance of establishing alliances, networks or coalitions to stamp out racism and discrimination. Mainly, because we achieve more when we work together, our actions have a greater impact, and because “united, we move forward at a slower pace, but we do it better”.

    This was highlighted at a virtual meeting held a few weeks ago³, by representatives from the “Assistance and guidance service for victims of racial or ethnic discrimination” of the Council for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CEDRE), and the Eraberean Network for equality and non-discrimination promoted by the Basque Government. These are two public services, one state and the other regional, which rely on the work of specialised non-governmental organisations to identify, register and investigate cases of discrimination, and to assist victims of these events.

    Two examples of Spanish good networking practices in the fight against racism, discrimination and xenophobia, from which we were able to reflect on the advantages and challenges of these collaborative work models by institutions and civil society organisations.

    Thanks to their useful contributions, we are more aware of the added value that CSOs bring to the fight against discrimination and intolerance and of the need to join forces to improve the work, tools and methodologies available to prevent and eradicate these practices, allowing us to make greater progress.

    ¹Specialised United Nations bodies, as well as the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Network of Equal Treatment Bodies (Equinet) and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE have highlighted the essential role and importance of working with civil society organisations to respond more effectively to racism, xenophobia, discrimination and other forms of intolerance.

    More recently, along the same lines, the “EU Anti-racism Action Plan” for the period 2020 – 2025, approved on 18 September, underlines and urges Member States to dialogue and collaborate more actively with civil society organisations to promote inclusion, basic rights and equality and to ensure that voices of people who experience racism on a daily basis are heard and considered.

    ²The virtual meeting, entitled “Civil society and the fight against racism and xenophobia in Spain and Morocco”, was held on 9 July within the framework of the “Forum for the exchange of experiences with civil society”.

    ³A virtual meeting to present Spanish experiences of networking and cooperation to fight racial and ethnic discrimination, racism and xenophobia was held within the framework of the project on 28 April.

  • 06 May 2021


    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Prosecutors and FIIAPP: from the public to the public

    Borja Jiménez Muñoz, Prosecutor of the International Cooperation Unit of the State Attorney General’s Office writes this opinion article in which he looks into the work of the Prosecutor’s Office and its participation and involvement in cooperation projects for the improvement of judicial systems worldwide.

    The FIIAPP slogan “from the public to the public” is reassuring.  It transmits a collective objective of institutional collaboration independent of specific interests, and makes us feel that what we do together is positive and can have an effective impact on the improvement of judicial systems in different parts of the world, because we are doing it in the public sector. I know this from my own experience as a former resident adviser on a twinning project in Serbia, through which I got to know the FIIAPP, make wonderful friends and connect with the view of the Spanish Prosecutor as a specialised professional who can export the best image of Spain.  

    The Office of the Public Prosecutor is well established in such tasks of institutional cooperation and the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office has been cooperating with the FIIAPP since the latter was created in 1998 and has been growing, managed through the International Cooperation Unit of the State Attorney General’s Office (UCIF). I can affirm that our relationship is permanent, complex and positive and, of course, public. 

    It is permanent because, despite the fact that we have a small staff, made up of only 2,571 prosecutors – not at all comparable with the number of other groups in the field of Justice such as judges, lawyers from the Justice Administration or policemen, among others – and, of them, no more than 30-40 participate in international activities, our presence in Justice and Interior projects is very significant: not only do we currently have four Prosecutors abroad and FIIAPP staff coordinating twinning, delegated cooperation or similar projects, but our participation in short-term missions is also permanent. For example, last year in 2020, despite the pandemic, around 30 Spanish prosecutors participated in as many FIIAPP missions, not forgetting their participation in other institutions, such as AECID, in activities derived from the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors (AIAMP) of which the UCIF is general secretary and EU projects such as EUROMED, among others. This implies commitment. 

    It is complex. Those of us who are involved in the management have different institutional profiles and participate in different corporate cultures. The Prosecutor’s Office does not have the objective of cooperating abroad, our function is to promote the action of Justice and its original vision had nothing to do with the current challenges abroad. Today we have a Prosecutor of the highest professional category (Chief Prosecutor) in charge of international cooperation, who is convinced of the importance of such technical cooperation. And also a Unit of the Attorney General dedicated to this, which includes criminal judicial cooperation and institutional cooperation with third countries, which is an achievement that stems from a personal commitment of a few prosecutors who believed in what today seems to be a obvious. This structure’s dialogue with the FIIAPP generates complexity, in aspects such as the design of activities, human resources issues, institutional relations… Complexity causes difficulties, but the key is understanding, which exists despite the limited human resources that the UCIF has to carry out its work. 

    It is positive. FIIAPP has made the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office grow and given it projection and has enabled it to expand worldwide the knowledge and experienceof an institution that offers specialisation as one of its principal assets, enabling us to create and strengthen sister Prosecutor’s offices and other institutions, through twinning and other projects. Without this list being exhaustive, we have been right at the forefront in Slovakia, Poland, Albania, Croatia, Serbia, Peru and, now again, in Albania, Morocco, Colombia, not forgetting our permanent participation in missions in Latin America, East Africa, Mozambique… In this way, our ideas have borne fruit. I know what I’m saying. We believe that FIIAPP has also benefited from this impact. 

    It is public. The slogan is a permanent reminder of an essential factor: FIIAPP is the vehicle for Spanish cooperation and the Prosecutor’s Office as a public institution carries out its foreign mission under the cover of that umbrella. Spanish Prosecutors do not participate in missions managed by private consultancies, except for justifiable exceptions, on the understanding that public servants cannot compete with public institutions by providing services to companies that compete for the same project. From the public to the public means this and we are proud to defend it.  

    What do we expect for the future? To maintain the intensity of our cooperation and to highlight the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office as an institution capable of demonstrating the best of Spain abroad. To that end, we need FIIAPP. But we also need to become more visible and move towards a deeper relationship. We have shared experiences that tell us that projects are only successful if they are planned well, if their beneficiaries are identified, if the experts are selected and properly looked after, if the FIIAPP team is qualified and flexible and, therefore, it is necessary to establish new relationship formulas. 

    FIIAPP and us, us and FIIAPP. A complex, necessary, useful framework that gives us wings. Long may it last. 

    Borja Jiménez Muñoz. Prosecutor of the International Cooperation Unit of the State Attorney General’s Office 

  • 08 April 2021


    Posteado en : Opinion

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    From ‘COVID-19 Round Tables’ to the ‘Team Europe Round Tables’

    The current health crisis is also an opportunity to improve cooperation focused on public policy discussions. A dialogue based on shared values that leads to measurable results and builds fairer and more prosperous societies by focusing on matters like social cohesion, gender equality and the green agenda

    COVID-19 has shown us that pandemics and their associated crises require rapid, coordinated and, above all, global responses to protect people and address the socioeconomic consequences being felt all over the world. Although the virus crosses borders, the unequal impact it has had on the population stands out.  

    These disparities are evident in multiple dimensions and areas: the risk of infection, access to education due to the digital gap, inequality in access to health services and the ability to work at home. This inequality has been particularly notable in some of our partner countries, especially in Latin America where the United Nations estimates that real GDP has decreased by 8% in 2020 due to prolonged national closures, weak exports and the demise of tourism, which has undermined economic activities1 . 

    In light of this, the European Union has reacted by redoubling its commitment to its partners. That’s why the Europe Team has been set up as a global response to the consequences of the pandemic in our partner countries, supporting and addressing key issues such as social cohesion, human rights, quality democracy, digitisation, gender equality and the environment. 

    It aims to assist in the global management of the crisis, providing a joint, organised and coordinated European response; combining efforts by the European Union and its Member States – including cooperation agencies – and development finance institutions.   

    In May 2020, following the “Working Better Together ” approach, the European Commission launched a pilot exercise called COVID19 Round Tables led by the Delegations of the European Union in Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador in collaboration with the governments of each of these three countries. This initiative works to identify the demands derived from the health emergency, in order to prioritise them in a joint exercise with the government of the partner country to channel the response of the European actors in a structured and coordinated manner according to the capacities and speciality of each actor.  

    Thanks to the close work carried out together with the focal points of each country, it has been possible to pool the efforts of relevant actors in the different facets and levels at which the devastating consequences of the pandemic have been felt. 

    The objective is to provide a joint EU response in the partner country, strengthening actions for socio-economic recovery, green recovery, digital and food security.  

    The implementing agencies of the member states, such as the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Public Administration and Policies (FIIAPP) are part of Team Europe. Thus, the FIIAPP offers technical assistance to the EU Delegations of Costa Rica and Ecuador, coordinating the pilot round tables in these two countries.   

    After several months of working together, the progress made is remarkable and the lessons learned are of great value. Throughout this process of dialogue, the focus has been on post-pandemic recovery and on rebuilding better, with an eye on the worst affected sectors and groups.  

    Through specific dialogue in each country, with flexible methodology and based on the reorientation of activities already underway in the Member States, EU cooperation agencies and programmes such as EUROsociAL + , EUROCLIMA + , EL PAcCTO, Bridging the Gap are achieving: 

    • Greater coordination and coherence in Team Europe’s response 
    • Appropriation by both European actors and the institutions of the partner countries. A great commitment is observed on the part of all the actors involved, recognising the added value of a sectoral, multi-actor and peer-to-peer dialogue.  
    • A deeper, mutual understanding of needs, demands, interests and of how we can respond. For example, it came to light that the Green Agenda, governance, digitalisation and inequality are important topics on the bilateral, regional and bi-regional agenda of Latin America and the Caribbean.

    This joint response has led to the creation of Team Europe, making it possible to offer articulated, coordinated, coherent and flexible responses to urgent needs such as the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

    Team Europe is determined that nobody will be left behind, and international cooperation is more important than ever to its success. We are in an excellent position to strengthen bonds and share know-how and experiences that will be useful to all of us.  

    We have an opportunity to make progress, cooperating based on the values shared by both regions, transitioning towards real social cohesion, forming reliable democratic institutions to drive the digital revolution, gender equality and to give the Green Agenda the final push that it needs. 

    Perhaps we can transition from this pilot exercise focused on COVID-19 towards a working methodology and relationship model for European cooperation and partner countries: progress from COVID19 Round Tables to Team Europe Round Tables, making the “policy first” principle part of a structured mechanism for joint dialogue, implementation and partnership. 

    There’s no doubt that this is a difficult task, but it is one in which FIIAPP is determined to play a part. 

    Let’s keep building our future together. 

    Mariana Fernández, Management Support Unit at FIIAPP 


  • 18 March 2021


    Posteado en : Opinion

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    For reconstruction policies that leave no one behind

    Climate change has put three out of every ten households in Central America and the Caribbean at risk. Social vulnerability exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic must be added to this environmental vulnerability. Therefore, the implementation of comprehensive policies to reduce inequalities and alleviate poverty is a matter of urgency.

    Pueblo Nuevo, un barrio del distrito de Pavas en San José de Costa Rica

    Individuals are affected differently by COVID-19. And it does not affect all territories to the same extent. Almost 60% of the population of Central America lives in urban areas, many of which are unplanned, according to UN-Habitat estimates. Neighbourhoods with high degrees of overcrowding and that are scattered, poorly connected and with hardly any services and infrastructures whose inhabitants have seen their vulnerability increased due to the pandemic. Specifically, the impact on informal settlements has been greater due to the inaccessibility of drinking water for proper sanitation, overcrowding in homes and the difficulty of access to health services. The pandemic has also had significant negative effects on the family economy since many people, mainly women, who live in settlements work informally. According to data from the International Labour Organization, 126 million women work informally in Latin America and the Caribbean. This represents almost 50% of the region’s female population. 

    “Since the pandemic began, the situation in the neighbourhood has been chaotic because we live very close to each other and up to 15 people live in very small houses. In my house, which has three rooms, there were three of us and now there are eight because my daughter and my grandchildren have had to come to live with us.  I depend on a pension that the government gives me because of my disability, but it is very small”, Alicia Bremes explains to us from Pueblo Nuevo, a neighbourhood in the Pavas district of San José, Costa Rica. In August 2020, the districts of Pavas and Uruca together made up more than 15% of the entire country’s active COVID cases. 

    “How are we going to wash our hands if we don’t have access to water? Or how are we going to disinfect ourselves with gel if the price is so high?” laments Bremes, who has suffered the consequences of the pandemic at home. “One of my sons fixes cell phones and has been out of work for many months. I have another son with a disability who used to go to a psychiatric workshop every day and has suffered a lot because he no longer had anywhere to go. As he was nearly always out in the street, he caught COVID, suffered a very high temperature and had great difficulty in breathing, but recovered. But I have many neighbours, of all ages, who have passed away”, she says. 

    As Alicia Bremes explains, the situation in the poorer neighbourhoods is one of extreme vulnerability. “Many mothers in the neighbourhood had been working as cleaners in homes and were fired due to the pandemic. COVID has also reduced the street vending on which many families depend to be able to eat on a daily basis”, she says. Therefore, it is essential to focus on the needs of the most vulnerable groups and to try to cushion the effects of the pandemic that has quickly become a socio-economic as well as a health crisis. 

    In this context, the Council for Social Integration (CIS) asked the Secretariat for Central American Social Integration (SISCA), with the support of the Programme EUROsociAL+ of theEuropean Union, managed by FIIAPP, IILA and Expertise France, and in partnership with agencies and programmes of the United Nations, FAO, ILO and UN HABITAT, to prepare a “Recovery, Social Reconstruction and Resilience Plan for Central America and the Dominican Republic”. The Plan is a common regional roadmap and is made up of a series of strategic projects articulated around three axes of intervention: social protection, employment and sustainable urban development. 

    The Plan, which has been endorsed by the Councils of Ministers of Labour, Housing and Human Settlements of Central America and the Dominican Republic, focuses its efforts on reducing poverty and socio-spatial inequality, the most obvious territorial expression of which are the informal settlements, which are estimated to make up 29% of the Central American urban population. Despite national efforts over the last 15 years to reduce the population living in informal settlements, many people continue to live in this situation. In addition, there are risks derived from climate change, which exposes a growing number of inhabitants to the effects of extreme weather events such as hurricanes or landslides. 

    There is an urgent need to broaden our view and think of the neighbourhood as the environment that enables us to implement basic rights within the city, for which we will have to attend not only to the provision of housing, but also to ensure that these houses have the necessary infrastructures, services and facilities. 

    There are still many challenges ahead in order to turn the face of poverty and inequality into one of progress without leaving anyone behind. For this reason, additional financial resources must be urgently found for the implementation of the Recovery, Social Reconstruction and Resilience Plan, an instrument that will mitigate the effects of the pandemic and shape societies that are more resilient, socially more just and egalitarian and environmentally more sustainable. 

    Cristina Fernández, Senior Town Planning Architect of EUROsociAL+ and collaborator with Fundemuca 

  • 11 March 2021


    Posteado en : Opinion

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    FIIAPP, a knowledge organisation

    David R. Seoane, a member of the Knowledge Management area, explains that FIIAPP does important work on global knowledge management as through its work to promote learning by administration bodies and support public policies that benefit people.

    FIIAPP’s raison d’être as an institution is to promote learning between counterpart public administration bodies from different countries through the exchange and transfer of knowledge. The key raw material with which we work is therefore knowledge. We are a knowledge organisation. 

    Over the last few years, FIIAPP has made a firm commitment to ensure progress in the implementation of knowledge management as one of our cross-cutting priorities that allow us to grow as an organisation. This decision has led us to take important steps in the way we work that have allowed us to nurture our strategic planning and management, establishing synergies between the programming, monitoring and evaluation of public technical cooperation projects and other programmes in which we work. Throughout this ongoing process, we have always been certain that our roadmap toward a better FIIAPP inevitably involves the incorporating of innovation, continuous learning and good practices within our interventions. 

    We therefore classify the types of knowledge with which we work within the Foundation and that are indispensable to us. These are: strategic knowledge, methodological knowledge and procedural knowledge. This system allows us to define and organise knowledge that we consider critical to the development of the organisation’s functions and the achievement of its objectives. 

    Having useful knowledge at these three levels is key for our projects to translate into development results. In order to make better-informed decisions on a strategic level, we need to know the priorities of the international agenda, what kind of training is available to Spanish and European Public Administration bodies and what our partner countries need. At the methodological level, we have to use methodologies that ensure a horizontal, innovative transfer of knowledge that covers the real needs of our counterparts. Finally, on a procedural level, we follow solid and rigorous procedures that allow us to carry out economic, legal, logistical management etc. that meets the highest possible quality standards. In addition to effort and perseverance, we only need one thing for all this: knowledge. 

    On an ongoing basis, FIIAPP develops mechanisms and tools (guides, protocols, manuals, explanatory videos, information sessions, pilot exercises etc.) that allow us to capture, process and disseminate these types of knowledge, allowing us to progress efficiently and effectively. These three phases – capture, process and disseminate – make up the knowledge management cycle that the Foundation has adopted and that we strive daily to consolidate as the true culture of our collective work.  

    At FIIAPP, we believe that organisations learn, which is why we invest significant efforts and resources to improve our capacities to manage our knowledge better every day. This is the only way to live up to our essence and our true mission as an organisation. 

    David R. Seoane, Communication and Knowledge Management Technician at FIIAPP 

  • 11 February 2021


    Posteado en : Opinion

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    SENSEC, an experience, a feeling

    The SENSEC-EU cooperation project has spent 3 years working to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of Senegal's internal security services. To this end, many people have contributed their professional skills, one of them is Nuria Roncero, key expert in the border control and surveillance component, who tells us about her personal experience in this project.

    Picture of Nuria Roncero

    All journeys into the unknown begin with mixed feelings. The uncertainty that commonly forms part of our life becomes clearer and more evident. They are the same sensations one has when starting a holiday going to a distant and unknown country. In this case, you have to add the professional responsibility you are engaged in when going to start a new project. Very exciting, because I love my work; I’m very fortunate. 

    This is how my trip to Africa began, with a suitcase full of many years of professional experience and personal anecdotes and ready to take charge of tasks that I had no knowledge about in terms of how border security and management is carried out. 

    It wasn’t about leaving my comfort zone, it was all self-driven. 

    After a trip in which my inquisitive look at what is different to me was mixed with looks back expressing the same thing, I arrived at my destination, Dakar, with my eyes closed because at two in the morning the darkness  everything. The first weeks, in which I was bombarded with information, were followed by others which were more chaotic with border closures due to COVID, which at that time was beginning in our country and the rest of the world. All continents were affected and Africa was not going to be less so. 

    It was not easy. It wasn’t for anyone and it wasn’t for me either. 

    Africa has a different pace of life, different smells, different colours and different flavours from the ones I knew. 

    You have to dive into it all to understand the daily workings of a country that smile at you every day despite all the calamities and poverty.  Interpersonal relationships also have their own codes, such as the fact that some handsome, well-built Senegalese man asks you about your family as soon as they meet you. A coffee with another female member of the work team clarified the matter for me. It is typical before being asked out on a date, to be asked if you are involved with anyone, whether you have children or not or any other type of personal relationship. This question is answered by naming family members or saying what one feels appropriate at the time, opening or closing the door to more intense interactions.21 

    Little by little I got to know all the people who were part of this project, Police, Gendarmerie, Customs, administrators from all the Ministries, personnel from all parts of the world who are working in and for this country, Spanish colleagues stationed here for one reason or another and who give you all their support. 

    And so, building professional and personal connections, supported by the technical team from Madrid, we were creating border posts in strategic places, police stations to fight against irregular immigration and human trafficking, as necessary for them as for us, hangars for police aircraft, river detachments to fight against all kinds of illicit trafficking, creating manuals from scratch to ensure that all the training that we have given to more than 400 policemen, gendarmes and customs officers becomes permanent. 

    We have trained ultralight aircraft and drone pilots and we have taught them to navigate and monitor, with new boats, the area of the “mangroves of Sine Saloum”, a very beautiful area, where every type of piracy imaginable goes on. We have made great efforts to ensure that there is a little more security in a country where “téranga”, the spirit of hospitality, is its watchword. 

    And after a year of hard work, having left behind my initial feelings of fear and uncertainty, I will soon be getting on a plane with no return ticket for the moment, leaving much of my professional experience and many emotions behind in this country. I can assure you that the suitcase I am taking back is loaded with unrepeatable experiences. It took me all this time to get to know the true essence of Africa and I am convinced that there is still much to discover and many codes to decipher. 

    But that will be for the next trip to Senegal. 

    Nuria Roncero, key expert in the border control and surveillance component of the SENSEC-UE project