Life at Lekela: Amadou Sow, ESG Manager, Lekela (Senegal)

Lekela is an international organisation, with our people based in Senegal, Egypt, South Africa and the UK. We want to shine a light on the amazing work our people do across Africa and in Europe and hear directly from our employees on what life at Lekela is really like.

Over the coming months, we’ll be speaking to different employees across Lekela’s business to hear what they’re working on and what led them to this industry.

Today, we’re speaking to Amadou Sow, Lekela’s ESG Manager in Senegal. Amadou joined Lekela in 2019, where he leads on the ESG work the team carries out in the community of Taiba N’Diaye, where Lekela’s 158.7MW wind project and Senegal’s first utility-scale wind farm is located. Amadou has years of experience in ESG, having started his career as a community development officer at an NGO.

Read on below to hear some of Amadou’s thoughts on why he joined Lekela, the importance of investing in the communities where we operate and the projects he and the team are working on in Taiba N’Diaye.

What led you to a career in ESG and to Lekela?

I hold a degree in economics and management. After graduating from university, the first opportunity I was offered was a position as a community development officer at an NGO. The experience gained in local development allowed me to join a gold mine in eastern Senegal as a Social Coordinator. I worked there for 5 years, seeing the project go from development to operation and gaining experience in ESG. Eventually, I decided I wanted to be closer to my family, because working with the gold mine I had no family life. My children were growing up without knowing me. I saw Lekela were looking for an ESG expert familiar with IFC standards and took the opportunity, joining the company in 2019.

Why do you think it's important for companies like Lekela to invest in the communities they work in?

Investing in communities contributes to the sustainability of the business. It helps build a good reputation for Lekela, while guaranteeing the confidence of investors, owners, donors, sponsors and the community where we operate. At Lekela, we are committed to achieving our business objectives in a responsible and sustainable manner.

For us, community investment is also an important way to benefit the local community and promote development. Taiba N’Diaye, for example, is an area of intensive agriculture, but we have maintained a strong relationship with the local community due to the way we have communicated with and worked with the community to address their needs.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What makes me happiest in my role is the fact that I am helping to improve the education system in our host communities, helping to build a more promising future for young people. I get to contribute to improving the living conditions for thousands of farmers, such as through helping them access efficient irrigation systems. Women’s associations also benefit, and we hope that our interventions will lift them out of poverty.

In short, my work contributes every day to positively changing lives. I don’t know of a more exhilarating mission.

Tell us about a project you're working on right now and what impact you hope it will have?

Currently, we are implementing a programme to develop STEM education in the local community. I hope that this project will contribute to the emergence of a critical mass of young creatives, including lots of young women, who will then be able to enter the world of work with the appropriate skills. To do this, we built a computer training centre in 2020, and we’re now building a new college in the area. As well as this, a new scholarship programme for scientific studies will be implemented from October this year.

As well as the work we are doing in education, we are also working on a large-scale irrigation project that aims to develop agricultural value chains. We hope that hundreds of women and young people will be able to earn significant incomes from this programme.