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Senegal, the westernmost point of continental Africa, is a former French colony and 17th- and 18th-century center for slave trade. Today, Senegal is a peaceful and democratic nation, with 63 percent of the total population under the age of 25. 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.

ChildFund Senegal provides hygiene, nutrition and support, including home visits for mothers and babies by trained health workers. Our Learning Through Play parent-training model is used in an increasing number of Early Childhood Development centers, along with toy libraries and play groups. Children ages 3 to 5 who are enrolled in these centers learn psychomotor, cognitive and affective skills in a fun and safe environment. We also focus on parenting education and involvement and skills building at the centers, while also emphasizing teachers’ professional development. In addition, ChildFund Senegal manages a large USAID grant to support the health and nutrition of young children, a broad community health project with an emphasis on maternal and child health, nutrition and neglected tropical diseases. The project reaches nearly 2 million children and 9 million people overall.

ChildFund Senegal works to improve learning and teaching methods, particularly in mathematics and reading, in its All Children Learning program. One of our most important recent achievements for education in Senegal is the Children Leaders Program, started by one of our local partner organizations. This program promotes child participation by putting the children at the center of programs and activities. Participants receive training on leadership, active citizenship, child rights, planning and budgeting and Ebola prevention.

The Daaras Plus project has improved basic education for 315 students living in a daara, or Koranic school, with a broad focus that included health status, living conditions, hygiene and economic strengthening.

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, mostly girls, regardless of their level of education. ChildFund also grants aid to young students participating in ChildFund’s sponsorship program and attending national or regional universities, along with material support to those already in the trades. Teen-Corner activities focus on reproductive health and awareness around issues such as sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and AIDS, early marriage and pregnancy, gender-based violence, and dangers of tobacco and drug use.

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 animals with families in 2013. Following the Heifer International model, once calves are born, the next participant is identified by village committees and receives a calf. Through these livelihood donations, the project seeks to improve the living conditions of families who are unable to find jobs in Senegal through household incomes, food security and household nutrition and to strengthen women and youth’s contributions to livelihoods, as well as family and community resilience. We also establish cereal banks to contribute to improved food security for vulnerable households as well as capacity building within the community to manage cereal stocks in a sustainable manner.

Because government resources for programs supporting infants and young children are still limited, ChildFund Senegal is coordinating the establishment of a national network that includes government services, UN agencies, NGOs and national associations to work on early-childhood issues. The network will advocate for more governmental resources, research activities, capacity building and social mobilization.

Senegal is one of the most populous countries in western Africa, with 13.6 million people. Of those people, 54% are living in poverty, and almost 60% are under the age of 20. This young, impoverished population faces serious challenges, one of which is gender equality. Economic pressure often forces Senegalese girls to drop out of school to help families at home. With one of the world’s lowest girls’ primary school enrollment rates in the world, education in Senegal has a long way to go to achieve gender equality.

Such a disparity in educational opportunities inevitably has negative effects for Senegalese women: They have high rates of illiteracy and make up less than 10 percent of the formal labor force. Empowering women and girls with education allows them to become independent and join the formal labor force, which is vital to achieving economic growth. Currently, Senegal’s legislature is one of the most gender-balanced in the world, with 43 percent of its seats held by women. Despite recent economic improvement and some expansion of educational opportunities for girls and women in Senegal, there is still far to go. ChildFund works to help women and girls in Senegal by improving literacy centers, teenage skill training centers, kindergartens and primary schools across the country.


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  • September 9, 2011

    4 years old

  • Senegal


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