Binta Sarr was an activist for social, economic, cultural and political justice, and a hydraulic engineer in Senegal. After 13 years in civil service, she left this path to work with rural and marginalized women.
Out of this engagement grew the Association for the Advancement of Senegalese Women (APROFES), a grassroots movement and organization Binta founded in 1987. One of her main approaches was leadership training, relating not only to economic activities but also to women's rights and access to positions of decision-making.
“Grassroots populations must organize, mobilize, assume citizen control and demand democratic governance in all sectors of public space. The priority of social movements must go beyond the fight against poverty and must be focused on articulated and coherent development programs in line with human rights principles, while taking into account their needs and concerns both at the national and sub-regional levels and from a perspective of African and global integration.” - Binta Sarr
Rooted in Binta’s conviction that fundamental change in women’s status requires transformation in male attitudes, APROFES took an interdisciplinary approach, using radio, seminars and popular theatre, as well as providing innovative public education and cultural support for awareness-raising actions. Its popular theatre troupe performed original pieces on the caste system in Senegal, alcoholism, and conjugal violence. Binta and her team also looked at the crucial connection between the community and the broader world.
“For APROFES, it is a question of studying and taking into account the interactions between the micro and the macro, the local and the global and also, the different facets of development. From slavery to colonization, neocolonialism and the commodification of human development, most of the resources of Africa and the Third World (oil, gold, minerals and other natural resources) are still under the control of financial cartels and other multinationals that dominate this globalized world.” - Binta Sarr
Binta was one of the founding members of the female section of the Cultural and Sports Association Magg Daan. She received commendations from the Regional Governor and the Minister of Hydrology for her "devotion to rural people."
Born in 1954 in Guiguineo, a small rural town, Binta passed away in September 2019.
“The loss is immeasurable, the pain is heavy and deep but we will resist so as not to mourn Binta; we will not mourn Binta, we will keep the image of her broad smile in all circumstances, to resist and be inspired by her, maintain, consolidate and develop her work…” - Aprofes Facebook page, September 24, 2019
"Farewell Binta! We believe your immense heritage will be preserved." - Elimane FALL, president of ACS Magg-Daan