Presentation at Deathscapes of the Future workshop

Ruth gave a well received presentation on ‘Caring for the dead: time-space practices in urban Senegal’ at the Deathscapes of the Future workshop convened by Avril Maddrell at University of West of England, Bristol, 7th June 2016. The interdisciplinary workshop provided a great opportunity for sharing ideas about cultural diversity in deathscapes, cemetery spaces and memorialisation in different international contexts. See also Ruth’s tweet and follow her on twitter @DrRuth_Evans.

UK could learn lessons from Africa in dealing with death

British society is not paying enough attention to how a death may risk pushing families into poverty and could learn valuable lessons from West Africa, according to a new report. Researchers from the University of Reading and the Open University say Britain could actually learn much from the example of less affluent countries in Africa, such as Senegal. Dr. Ruth Evans’ and colleagues’ research explored people’s experiences of a family death, and analysed levels of financial, emotional and practical support offered to bereaved families in urban Senegal. The study, funded by The Leverhulme Trust, provides the first in-depth understanding of responses to death, care and family relations in an urban West African context.

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A local mosque, Guédiawaye, Dakar.

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Download the Executive Summary or full Report

Télécharger le Résumé ou le Rapport (en français)

Key findings reported in the Senegalese press

Ruth discussed the research in policy workshops in Dakar and Kaolack last week and the findings were widely reported in the Senegalese press.  The research project found that Senegalese responses to death show how close-knit urban communities support each other, in the absence of support from government or non-governmental organisations. The crucial importance of informal support from the family and community following a death suggests the need for government and NGO services to adopt a ‘whole family approach’, which recognises the reciprocal roles of different family members. This could help to link up and enhance both formal and informal support systems in urban Senegal. 

Representatives of the Ministry of Women, Family and Childhood speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the Dakar policy workshop, 7th December 2015

Representatives of the Ministry of Women, Family and Childhood speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the Dakar policy workshop, 7th December 2015

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Ruth presenting the findings at the Kaolack policy seminar, 4th December 2015

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NGO representatives discussion group, Kaolack policy workshop