33One third of girls are married by their 18th birthday.
2525% of women have undergone FGM
50Over half the rural population are food insecure.
Women in Senegal are starkly disadvantaged. Far less likely than men to read or write, own land or businesses, women are treated as second-class citizens. Many girls miss out on school and one in three girls are married by their 18th birthday.
In addition, violence against women and girls is common and widely accepted by communities across the country. Despite being made illegal in 1999, one in four women has undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).
What we do in Senegal
Preventing violence against women and girls
Every day, Senegalese women face violence and injustice. ActionAid trains women and girls in skills such as women’s rights, land rights, sexual health and business acumen.
We also provide legal assistance for women who have experienced violence, including FGM.
Education for every child
Although education is free in Senegal, many families struggle to provide learning materials like books and pencils for their children. We work alongside parents, teachers and local authorities to make sure children have everything they need to thrive.
For example, in 2015 we set up four school shops in Missirah region, selling affordable pens, pencils, paper books and uniforms to local families. As a result, 1,300 children have everything they need to learn, without resorting to expensive loans.
ActionAid also helps communities to build and equip pre-schools to give young children a better start in life, as well as encouraging schools to share libraries in order to improve literacy.
In Senegal, many families don’t have enough to eat. As a result, over a quarter of children have stunted growth.
Our local staff train women in practical skills like how to improve their harvests and process and market their produce for a better price. We also help set up local cooperatives of female farmers who work together and support one another.
We’ve established community seed banks which offer farmers diverse seeds that are tailored for local growing conditions. Combined with low cost but effective farming techniques like irrigation and compost-making, the seeds are helping improve harvests.
How we change lives for good in Senegal
ActionAid works with over 50,000 people in Missirah alone. Located in the south eastern side of Tambacounda Region, it is one of the poorest areas in the whole country. In Senegal, 1,437 children are sponsored through ActionAid.
Training women in innovative farming methods
Life is hard on Senegal’s Baout Island. Erratic rainfall, rising sea-levels and encroaching salt water have destroyed huge swaths of farmland. As a result, many families are going hungry.
Amie Diouf is just one woman whose life has been transformed by table gardening. Using rainwater collected from roofs and stored in tanks, food is grown on tables using homemade compost composed of groundnut husks. “It’s the best system we’ve ever had,” Amie says.
Every woman who has received the training will train 15 more women. This means that every woman on the island will soon have the chance to learn how to better feed their families, even during periods of drought and hardship.Read more about our work on food and sustainable livelihoods
Ending violence against women and girls
“My name is Mariama Diallo and I’m 15 years old. In my village there is a lot of violence against girls. Many are forced into early marriages and unwanted pregnancies.
"At the ActionAid training I learned that violence is not normal or acceptable in any circumstances and how laws are in place to help stop it from happening. Before the workshop, I didn’t know that girls have these kinds of rights.
“At the end of the training we spoke to everyone about the impact of violence, even our parents. ActionAid has helped us to open our eyes to issues we are experiencing every day without knowing how to address them. Now I want to end violence in our village.”Join our campaign for women's rights