The visualisation above shows the aggregate movements of phone users in Senegal. Selecting an arrondissment provides a view of the number of people who have moved from there to other arrondissements during the course of the year. Data source: Orange D4D.

About the project

The movements of a population reflect on their livelihoods, coping strategies and social safety nets. The main forms of livelihood in Senegal vary from region to region, and the country can be divided into a number of zones where, for example, pastoralism, agriculture or fishing are the dominant activities. Within each of these “livelihood zones”, there are well-studied patterns of seasonal activities and population movements.

For vulnerable population groups, changes to these known mobility patterns can indicate either changes in livelihoods or coping strategies, or exposure to new shocks. Hence, monitoring such changes can be a powerful humanitarian early warning mechanism. Until now, however, population-scale mobility has been impossible to observe directly.

Telecoms data provides an important new opportunity to carry out this analysis. For this purpose, we have developed statistical measures of mobility profiling in the context of livelihood zones and seasonal activity patterns in Senegal. For each of the 13 livelihood zones of Senegal, we have classified the population according to their mobility behaviors by clustering individual mobility trajectories into mobility classes. The timing of the displacements for each of the mobility classes has been aligned and compared with seasonal calendars that reflect agricultural cycles, economic activities and rainfall. The calendar framework can be used to generate mobility baselines, that with future real time data access can be a strong early warning tool.

The project is a collaboration between UN Global Pulse, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and WFP Senegal.

Poster with more description of the project (2.1MB).