Senegal is a former French colony that is now a peaceful, democratic country. Its economy relies on agriculture and tourism. Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation. ChildFund Senegal’s programming focuses on holistic methods to promote child and youth survival and development, and places emphasis on health and nutrition, education and protection, economic development and leadership.
ChildFund has served children in Senegal since 1985. Help make a difference and sponsor a child in Senegal today.
Ages 0 – 5: Healthy and Secure
Senegal has a high mortality rate for children under the age of 5, with 55 out of 1,000 children dying before they reach their fifth birthday. ChildFund and our local partners offer training and support for parents and caregivers of infants, helping improve hygiene and nutrition. Our Learning Through Play program at Early Childhood Development centers gives children access to toys, games and books that help them develop skills they need to succeed in school. We also train teachers and other people who work with preschool-aged children to help them engage babies and toddlers.
Ages 6 – 14: Educated and Confident
ChildFund Senegal works to improve learning and teaching methods, particularly in mathematics and reading, in its All Children Learning program. Also, ChildFund has improved schools structurally, by renovating and building restrooms and sinks. Libraries have new books to get children excited about reading, and after-school programs have provided leadership and citizenship training. Community members have gotten more involved with school management committees, and 100 children received bicycles and road safety training last year.
The Daara Plus project has improved basic education for 295 students living at daaras, or Koranic schools, with a broad focus that included health status, living conditions, hygiene and economic strengthening. Because these schools often are associated with low-quality education and unsafe living conditions, our chief aims are to protect children from abuse and exploitation, and provide them with a full education.
Ages 15 – 24: Skilled and Involved
Young Senegalese people benefit from ChildFund’s services through activities designed to improve their leadership and socio-economic skills. Our economic interest groups work to help young people find jobs in Senegal, and development training centers educate youth in trades and micro-entrepreneurship, building life skills among young people, regardless of their level of education. We also work with youth interested in child protection, helping create a generation conscious of children’s rights. One youth association, in the city of Ziguinchor, involves 50 young people in municipal budgeting and planning for action on protection, violence against children, sexual abuse and begging. They create public campaigns, radio broadcasts and live drama to make community members aware of child protection issues. Other ChildFund-supported programs for youth focus on improving communication and leadership.
SHINE, the Small Holder Income and Nutrition Enhancement project, aims for 5,700 families to reach sustainable well-being by 2017. ChildFund Senegal initially placed goats, sheep and poultry with families in 2013, and today, more than 1,600 families have benefitted. Through these livelihood donations, we seek to improve the living conditions of families who are unable to find jobs in Senegal. Livestock with short reproductive cycles help families gain household income and nutritious food faster, improving food security. ChildFund also provides technical training in animal husbandry and agriculture, as well as high-quality seeds. Today, families involved in SHINE have been able to increase their incomes and expand their livestock businesses. They also have produced more vegetables and other crops by using organic manure from goats and sheep, and the project has helped community members connect with government officials.
Since 2011, ChildFund Senegal has carried out Phase 2 of the USAID-funded Community Health Program (PSSC2), to improve the health of Senegalese families nationwide. With a consortium of nongovernmental organizations, ChildFund has supported the establishment and renovation of more than 3,700 health huts and community health centers, serving more than 114,000 children and 53,000 pregnant women. Health workers monitor children’s nutritional status and provide caregivers with important information about keeping children healthy, along with other kinds of healthcare. This national program has expanded our reach to more than 9.7 million Senegalese people, out of a population of 13.9 million.
Gender Equality in Senegal
Senegal has a large, young population facing many challenges. Only 61 percent of Senegal’s population has finished primary school, and the unemployment rate stands at 48 percent, one of the worst rates in the world. Not surprisingly, women and girls suffer in conditions like these, despite some positive trends in Senegal. Its legislature is one of the most gender-balanced anywhere, with 41 percent of women holding seats in parliament in 2012, and a gender parity law that requires political parties to ensure that at least half of their candidates in local and national elections are women.
However, reports suggest that cases of gender-based violence are occurring more frequently in some regions of Senegal. To respond to this problem, ChildFund and a local partner have started the Shine A Light program to prevent violence (including rape, forced marriages and physical assaults) and create a reliable network for victims to seek help safely. We also are working to keep girls in school longer, which helps them be more independent as adults, and ChildFund supports women making more decisions about their lives and households.