Diversity and inclusion: Reality or an illusion?

“Living together is an art.” – William Pickens

Hello reader,


First of all, I wish you all happy celebrations and beautiful and warm moments with loved ones around you. Today, December 31, 2022, we will soon be waving goodbye. It was quite spicy for each of us. Without PIT no GROWTH. With one of the Sengalese colorful beautiful boats we had a cruise of about 3 hours on it and were led through the beautiful Sine Saloum Delta. A beautiful delta with the mangroves and its many birds and stopped briefly at an ecolodge for a typical Senegalese midday meal. After lunch we left for an island where islanders lived secluded from the rest of the country. Happy to immerse you in my next inspirational entry with this welcoming music from the tribal chief and some residents.

The chief welcomed us and we were led by horse and cart up to the island. Drying laundry, playing children and working women colored the island. The typical thing about this island was that Muslims and Catholics live together peacefully. The island is so secluded that the inhabitants run everything themselves. That’s really leadership in bottom-up. Their own politics, education, agriculture, economy, a mosque and church on the island. In short, how curious I was to be able to feel, taste, smell, hear and see this with all my senses. As we approached the village, we were surrounded by the warm, hot sun and the chief led us through the island on foot.

Villagers and small children waved to us with smiles that gave so much energy. I admit honestly, I sometimes felt like the white woman as a disaster tourist and this did not always make me feel nice. By detaching this thought and seeking contacts with the locals, two feelings overwhelmed me. How poor we are and how rich the Senegalese are. That perception will become clear to you later.

Islanders sold fabrics, their own musical instruments made from dried fruits, homemade jams. I still smell those pungent, blissful and spicy fragrances.

Some time to ask questions of the chief and yes, I really did want to know how Muslims and Catholics live together here. The chief explained that everything is peaceful here and everyone respects each other whether you are Muslim, Catholic or Atheist. Muslims could also marry Catholics and vice versa. Is this the solution? Years of trying to integrate equality and diversity as inclusion in Europe and then you hear here in Senegal on this island that everything is peaceful. Yes, I shed a tear thinking that one day everything will be alright. I keep believing in that. After visiting the island with various contacts and conversations with the locals, we went home by boat at sundown and no one gave another word. Such an impact with each of us and especially the gratitude we should have. 

15 Tips how inclusion and diversity represent equity in organisations in times of change:

  1. Don’t make assumptions about people
  2. Unity in diversity
  3. Respect people’s differences 
  4. Listen to others 
  5. Be open-minded 
  6. Hear them and they will come
  7. Be inclusive 
  8. Promote diversity and inclusion 
  9. Celebrate different cultures 
  10. Advocate for equality 
  11. Educate yourself and others 
  12. Stand up to discrimination
  13. Promote inclusivity
  14. Remember the power of you
  15. Stop doing the same old thing and try something new

Be continued ….

‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’ – Wayne Dyer

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Warm Regards and a Happy New Year 2023!

Oiheba Bensaâd


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