My research has been coming along well. As different organizations and companies are starting to commercialize local rice, I see how it is important to do research on consumer preferences and marketing so that local rice can be successful. With the help of my supervisor at AfricaRice, we designed a project that will compare different types of rice labels- ones in Wolof that emphasize Senegalese culture vs. ones in French that emphasize international aspects. After designing the labels we are having a women’s group (that sells rice) choose the labels that we will test. Then we are going to start testing the labels in the markets in Saint-Louis and in Dakar through a choice test using an endow-and-upgrade method.
In other news, Senegal has been pretty preoccupied with the recent elections. In the weeks leading up to the election there were daily protests and at least six people were killed throughout the country. It has been a very controversial election because the president is running for a third term. The constitution limits presidents to two terms, however the president argues that this does not apply to him because he the constitution was changed after he was elected. The president did not get the absolute majority he had hoped for so now he will be facing an opposition candidate in a run off election. Here is some more information if you are interested.
In addition to my research, I’ve kept myself with other activities and trips, including attending a friend’s wedding in Tambacounda (southeastern Senegal), going to the annual Mouride brotherhood pilgrimage in the city of Touba, attending a conference on democracy and civic duty, hosted by the Senegalese Alumni Association, and visiting a bird sanctuary outside of Saint-Louis. My host organization recently started soccer games among the personnel, so I joined in for the first game of the season. I was the only woman who participated (maybe I can convince some of the others next time).