With a population of 13.6 million, Senegal is one of the most populous countries in western Africa. Unfortunately, 54 percent of Senegalese people live in poverty, and with almost 60 percent of the population under the age of 20, many children and youths face serious challenges. ChildFund has worked in Senegal since 1985, and although we have accomplished a great deal in the past 28 years, some problems persist, including gender inequality.
Poverty is a complex problem that affects many different aspects of everyday life. From inadequate sanitation to limited educational opportunities, poverty affects every community differently, but for young women and girls living in poor regions, the challenges can be greater. In some areas, women are seen as second-class citizens, given no choice about the direction of their lives and often deprived of education. According to UNICEF, Senegal has one of the lowest rates of girls' primary school enrollment in the world.
Economically, Senegal has improved in recent years. According to the World Bank, Senegal's GDP grew by 2.6 percent in 2011, but many women do not have access to the same opportunities as men. USAID has also worked in Senegal for many years, and improving women's access to agricultural equipment and helping women purchase land are among USAID's main priorities.
As an international development organization that focuses on children, ChildFund is committed to ensuring children have access to the educational opportunities they need to acquire vital skills like basic literacy. This is even more important for girls and young women living in Senegal so that they can live independent lives as adults, but things are improving.
According to the World Bank, Senegal's current legislature is among the most gender-balanced in the world, with women holding 43 percent of assembly seats. This shows a commitment to addressing gender inequality and sends a message that women's voices should be heard.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have been able to provide vital training opportunities to young women and children through 27 literacy centers across Senegal. In addition, we have enabled girls to acquire crucial skills through our network of 38 teenage skills training centers, and improved conditions in 72 kindergartens and 120 primary schools across the country.
Senegal is a nation in transition. Please help us continue to improve the lives of women and girls across the country by sponsoring a child in Senegal in Senegal. Your support will open doors for children in need across Senegal.