Senegal | ActionAid UK


  • 33
    One third of girls are married by their 18th birthday.
  • 25
    25% of women have undergone FGM
  • 50
    Over 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).

Agro-Ecology and Resilience workshop field trip to Baout Island

Staff, partners and community members from Senegal and The Gambia attend a Agro-Ecology and Resilience workshop in Sengal.

Photo: Clément Tardif/ActionAid

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. 

Ending hunger

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.


Photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui/ActionAid