Gary Engelberg, Co-Founder and Director. A graduate of Columbia University who has lived in Dakar for nearly forty five years, Mr. Engelberg has maintained his belief in the value of human exchange across cultures that was the inspiration for the creation of ACI. After Peace Corps volunteer service in Senegal, Gary remained in Dakar on the staff of Peace Corps in Senegal and West Africa, as training, language and education specialist. Subsequently working in most development sectors as an independent consultant and getting more and more involved in health issues, he founded ACI in 1983 with his partner, Lillian Baer who subsequently retired in 2006. Gary has led ACI into the mainstream of HIV/AIDS training and advocacy since 1990 and currently directs the organization.
Al Hassane Diahaté, Senior Consultant for Language and Culture
. Mr. Diahaté has coordinated the Baobab Center's language program since 1985. He is the lead cultural trainer, and coordinates orientations and educational tours, in addition to overseeing and training the language instructors. He holds an advanced degree in education from Moray House College in Edinburgh, Scotland, and spent twenty years teaching high school English in Dakar. Mr. Diahaté grew up in and still commutes daily from Rufisque, 30 km from Dakar.
Rama Sow Niang, Experience Senegal Program© Coordinator
. Ms. Niang hails from Kaolack, Senegal. She holds a "Licence" in English from the Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Dakar, an AAS in International Business from Nova College in Virginia, and both a BBA in Marketing and an MBA in Management from Strayer University in Virginia. She was previously the Interim Director of the Office of Student Life at Suffolk University's Dakar campus. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and music, cooking, sewing and making jewelry.
Adjaratou Aida Mbengue – Experience Senegal Program© Assistant
. Aida was born in Dakar but spent 15 years in Texas from Grade 7 through the University of Houston where she received her degree in Business Administration. Recently returned to Senegal with her two young daughters, Aida reports that the kids are learning French and Wolof at lightning speed ! Aida likes reading novels and LOVES shopping! She would like to study nursing one day.
Djiby Sow, Health Department Coordinator
. Born and raised in Dakar, Djiby's family has its origins in the town of Darou Mousty. He trained as a journalist with a specialization in health communication and is a national leader in the scouting movement where he worked for many years and learned advanced training techniques. For several years, Djiby was the program officer for training and capacity building in the CEDPA project for youth and women's reproductive health. He joined ACI as a consultant in 2007 and has worked on the development of a new social justice and conflict transformation program. He recently assumed the position of coordinator of ACI's health activities
Mamadou Kassé, Coordinator of the Information and Resource Center (CRI)
. Mr. Kassé was born and raised in Dakar. He came to ACI as an intern in our Resource Center in 2009 and is currently completing his "Licence" at the Ecole des Bibliothécaires, Archiviste et Documentalistes (EBAD). He is also working on a degree in Journalism and Communications at ISEG in Dakar. Mamadou enjoys soccer ("futbol"), music and browsing the internet. He hopes to have two wives and four children...to be continued.
Mame Daour Wade, Communications Officer
. Since 1990, Daour has produced over 30 films with ACI, and has participated in over one-hundred cross-cultural orientations. In addition to being a filmmaker, trained in Paris and in Bloomington, IN, he is also a storyteller and a writer, with experience in the field of agricultural extension. Daour has also been involved in collecting traditional folktales and proverbs publishing over twenty booklets for literacy classes. In 2002, he was awarded the Kadima Prize for literature by the Association internationale de la francophonie. Today he coordinates ACI's internal and external communications activities.
Ibrahima Diallo, Webmaster and IT Coordinator
. Ibou Diallo, is an IT specialist with expertise in both hard ware and soft ware. He was born in Dakar to a family whose origins are in the Casamance. He loves films and reading and practicing his English. He is married to another computer specialist and only other IT people can understand what they are saying when they talk to each other!
Ibrahima Khaliloulahi Dabo, IT
. Ibrahima Khaliloulahi Dabo is in charge of computer maintenance and networks at ACI. He studied at AGIF in Dakar from 2007 to 2009 where he earned the title of advanced technicien for maintenance and computer networks. He was responsible for computer maintenance at ICOMB before coming to ACI. Dabo as everyone calls him, lives in Fass de l’Orme with his parents and loves to play video games. He works out every morning from 6 to 7:30 to stay in shape.
ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE
Mariéme Gueye, Administrative Assistant
. Ms. Gueye is the head of administration and logistics at ACI. She has worked at ACI since 1993. She completed previous work for USAID on three health projects, two in Dakar, and one in rural areas, from 1985 to 1993. When she is not busy at the Baobab Center, she spends her spare time with her family and children.
Rokhaya Sy Tall (Daba), Financial Director
. Mrs. Tall has headed ACI's accounting department since May 2004. She oversees all ACI financial matters, while continuing to advance in her studies in accounting. Between 2001 and 2003, she worked for Dyna Enterprise, and also has completed an internship at Sonatel in the accounting department. A voracious reader, Mrs. Tall enjoys all sorts of African literature and boasts a collection of Danielle Steele novels.
Khady Soumaré Gaye, Accountant
. Mrs. Gaye joined ACI in November 2005. After finishing her accounting degree from University de Dakar in 2002, she did various internships with businesses in Dakar, and is now excited to be a part of the ACI team. She enjoys spending her spare time with friends and cooking.
Ndèye Tako Athj, Accountant
. Ms. Athj holds Master Degrees in Financial Audit and Accounting Management from the Higher Institute of Management, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the Higher Polytechnic School of Dakar. She is single and family oriented with a special attention and devotion to her parents and her siblings whom she loves more than anything.
El Hadj Traore, Accoutant
. El Hadji has worked in ACI’s accounting department since 2011. Born in Dakar in 1976, he has lived in Guediawaye since 1985. He studied Economics at the University of Dakar where he earned his Masters in 2003 and began a second Masters program in International Commerce. El Hadji worked in several different institutions for five years before coming to ACI. He loves basketball, swimming and going out with friends. He is single but ready to get married if the occasion presents itself.
Mame Maty Ka Dieng, Assistant to Marième Gueye in the Admin Office
. Mame Maty was born in Dakar from Gambian parents. She studied to be an office assistant/secretary and worked with the electric company Senelec and a medical practice before joining ACI in 2007. She likes music, dancing, reading and travel.
Moustapha Dieng, HIV Education Caseworker
. Mr. Dieng began working with ACI in 2000, after working for two years with ASBEF (Association Senegalaise de Bien-Etre Familiale) in Dakar. He has been working in the fight against HIV/AIDS since 1995. His primary focus is reproductive and sexual issues facing youth in Africa, and he conducts workshops between youth and adults to facilitate dialogue. Currently, Mr. Dieng travels to the Region of Ziguinchor monthly to work with a number of local associations and bring them new training techniques and HIV resources, and recently began working with community groups and associations of people living with HIV in the Region of Thies as well. In October 2007, Mr. Dieng attended a two and a half week intensive course on "Community Prevention: The fight against HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases” at Galillee College in Nahalal, Israel.
Gabriel Diaga Diouf, Caseworker ACI
. Gaby has been working with ACI since the beginning of the Poles of Excellence program in 1997. He has covered community groups in the periphery of Dakar and more recently in the Region of Kolda in southern Senegal. He is responsible for monitoring and evaluation of ACI's community health activities. Gaby holds a degree from the national school of applied economics (ENEA) as a “technicien superieur en animation de developpement communautaire”. Before then, he was the president of his neighbourhood's young Catholics association, in the town of Diamguene, near Dakar. He has also worked simultaneously with the German Cooperation agency (GTZ) for 8 years as Coordinator of the Information, Communications and Health Program. Gaby recently created a community center in his neighborhood including a kindergarten and primary school for children unable to attend public schools and sewing and knitting classes for young girls. Gaby likes to play cards and checkers.
Abdoulaye Konate, Training Coordinator and Caseworker, ACI Health
. Abdoulaye began working at ACI in 1997. He has done extensive community mobilization in the region of Kaolack in the response to HIV/AIDS, where the epidemic poses the greatest risk in Senegal. He has served as the president of the Forum des “Relais Communautaires” with “ENDA-Tiers Monde”, an international NGO based in Dakar. Outside of his work, he is an artist, who likes drawing, silkscreen printing, and stage acting. He also sits on his neighbourhood ward council, serving as chairman of the sports and leisure commission. In October 2007, Mr. Konaté attended a two and a half week intensive course on "Community Prevention: The fight against HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases” at Galillee College in Nahalal, Israel.
Cheikh Thomas Faye, Language instructor
. Mr. Faye has been teaching Sereer-Siin, Wolof, and French at the Baobab Center since 2003. A native of Fatick in the Sine-Saloum region, he taught languages classes at the Peace Corps in Senegal between 1999 and 2001. His most recent project is corresponding with a school in Rouen, Educatel, in France. In his free time, he writes poetry in Sereer and French and hopes to publish in the future.
Rudy Gomis, Senior Language instructor
. Rudy has worked with ACI since its creation teaching French, Wolof, Diola and Portuguese Creole. Originaly from the Region of Ziguinchor in the Casamance, Rudy is also lead singer in Senegal's Orchestre Baobab which has made an extraordinary comeback over the past few years. His time is now divided between teaching at ACI and touring the world with the orchestra.
Ismaila Massaly, Language Instructor
. Mr. Massaly is a Wolof and French instructor at the Baobab Center, as well as an assistant language coordinator. Mr. Massaly helps prepare the class schedule and hours of the instructors for all the student programs, as well as assisting in technical support. Born in Tanaff in the Casamance region, he came to Dakar in 1975, where he received degrees in geography and history from University Cheikh Anta Diop. He joined the ACI team in 1998.
Dienaba Signaté, Language instructor
. Ms. Signaté teaches classes in Pulaar, French, and Wolof for ACI. Born in Guinea and raised in Kédougou, she taught language classes for the Peace Corps in Senegal from 1993 til 1996. She has worked for ACI since 1997, where she serenades the staff with beautiful Senegalese and old French songs when she is not introducing students to new languages. She recently has worked with Baobab students to start a cafeteria at a nearby school for students from low-income families.
Oumoul Sow, Language instructor and Assistant Housing Coordinator
. Ms. Sow has taught French, Pulaar, and Wolof at the Baobab Center since 1998. She also acts as an assistant housing coordinator for all exchange students, where she coordinates and mediates with the home-stay families. Before coming to work at the Baobab Center, she worked with the Peace Corps and at other local associations where she taught Wolof classes. Ms. Sow is the president of the association GIE, in Thiès, which works to support women in rural villages.
Mamadou Djama (Zator) Tounkara, Senior Language Instructor
. Mr. Tounkara has taught Wolof and French at the Baobab Center since its beginning in 1983. Before joining ACI, he spent fifteen years as a language and culture trainer with the US Peace Corps in Senegal. An avid connoisseur of art and music, he enjoys using a variety of teaching techniques to help students learn new languages quickly. Deceased March 14, 2010. See the obituary and a picture gallery of Zator's life under "About Us" - "Zator".
Hamidou Gambiga, teaches French, Wolof, Bambara and Soninké for ACI
. Originally from Thies but currently living in Dakar, Mr. Gambiga was trained as an assistant accountant but later opted for language teachiing. In addition to providing language instruction, Mr. Gambiga has carried out socio-economic studies in almost all of Senegal's 14 regions.
Abdou Rahmane Sarr, teaches French, Wolof and Seereer for ACI
. Originally from the island of Niodior at the mouth of the Saloum river, Abdou is a former Peace Corps language instructor and holds a certificate in language teaching from the International School in Brattleboro Vermont. He first studied at the College of Wooster in Ohio in the US. in the States and went on Auburn University in Alabama where he learned aquaculture. He later applied his newly acquired skills to a fish farming project in Lac de Guiers in Ker Momar, the Region of Louga. During a recent stay in the US, he offered courses in Wolof and African culture at the University of New York in Buffalo.
Mamadou Sellou Sow (Doyen), Receptionist
. Mr. Sow is one of the original four members of the ACI family, starting in 1984. He facilitates administrative tasks at the reception area, providing information to visitors, registering students for classes, and acting as a resource guide for newcomers to Dakar. Mr. Sow completed his studies in English at the American Cultural Center, and went to the United States on a Rotary International exchange program in 1988.
Khadidiatou "Néné" Ba, Custodian
. Néné has been keeping ACI spick and span since 1995. She also helps with catering and service for conferences and events hosted by ACI. Before joining ACI, Néné worked for four years at the offices of the electrical company, Sénélec. She was born in Ziguinchor, in the south of Senegal, moving to Dakar at the age of 11. She likes to travel in her time off, and enjoys going to the market, cooking and attending social events.
Diarra Coly, Assistant Custodian
. Diarra was born in Niamoun, Casamance in 1985 and came to Dakar in 2000 when she was 15 years old. She began learning sewing in a women’s center but soon left to begin working. She joined ACI as Assistant Custodian in 2007. Diarra Lives with her husband in Dakar. She likes to listen to the radio and watch television.
Souleymane Ba, Office assistant
. Mr. Ba has worked for ACI since 1999. Mr. Ba carries out various administrative tasks, and also welcomes and greets all who pass through the Baobab Center. Proficient in English and fluent in Wolof, and French, Mr. Ba works with exchange students to make their transition to Dakar more smooth. His smile has earned him the nickname Sunshine in French (Soleil) which is similar to his name (Souley). He is currently the ACI driver and handles all errands and deliveries.
Aminata Gaye, Receptionist and Intern at the Center for Resources and Information (CRI)
. Aminata Gaye is the receptionist at Baobab 2. Born in Dakar in 1984, she is single and lives with her parents. She studied at Dakar University’s School for Librarians, EBAD, and first came to ACI as an intern to set up a Wolof language library in 2010. Upon completion of that task, she was recruited for the post of receptionist. Aminata loves to read, listen to music, and discover new things.
. Mr. Coly has been a part of the ACI family since 1990, helping transport ACI staff all over Senegal. Before ACI, he worked as a chauffeur for the Peace Corps in Senegal from 1977-1979, and the Ford Foundation from 1981-1988. Between 1974 and 1982, Mr. Coly was a prominant basketball player in the region and was selected twice to play for the Senegalese national basketball team.
Mamadou Danso, Night Guard
. Danso hails from Gawan, Guinea, and has been in Dakar since 1980. He is a motorcycle mechanic by trade, but has been making his living in Dakar as a fruit salesman. He started covering night shifts guarding ACI's health department in 1990. He still maintains his fruit stand in Sicap Baobab.
Moussa Diouf, Night Guard
. Mr. Diouf is a guard during the day for ACI's new Baobab 2 building. He started working for ACI in 1998, after moving from his native village of Ngolothie in the region of Kaolack, where all of his family still resides. He enjoys living in Dakar and hopes to become a chauffeur in the future.
Mamadou Faye, Guard
. Mamadou hails from the village of Ngoundiane Naax just outside of Thies, where two wives and his family live. He has been working at ACI since 1997. Faye is a big fan of the Senegalese wrestler Yekini. When he has time off work he likes to visit friends and family.
Sadio Keita , Guard
. Mr. Sadio Keita has been watching over the Baobab Center during the day since 2001. He moved from Kedougou to Dakar in 1988. Mr. Keita is the first to greet everyone in the morning and finds satisfaction in watching the daily progression of student's language ability, particularly in Wolof. He knows everything going on inside the Center and out on the streets.
Mamadou Mané, Gardener
. Mr. Mané has been making the Baobab Center look as green as his hometown of Ziguinchor in the Casamance region for over a decade. He conducted previous gardening work in the neighbouring Camberene district from 1993-1995.
Ibou Sène, Night Guard
. Mr. Sène has taken care of the Baobab Center at night since 1989. Before starting his work as a guard, he worked in a factory for five years in Dakar, treating fish and shrimp. He is originally from Ngoundiane, in the region of Thiès, and came to Dakar in 1977. A true night owl, Mr. Sène enjoys interacting with all the students who pass through ACI, and thanks to them and his own initiative, he has now learned English and French.