The Republic of Senegal is located in western Africa and is home to 17.3 million people. 3.3 million live in the capital city of Dakar.
The country’s stable political climate has led to many improvements in the life of Senegalese children and young people. However, they continue to face many challenges, particularly in rural areas. Rural families rely on agriculture to make a living. As climate change is increasingly affecting their livelihoods, many move to urban areas. At present 48% of the population lives in urban areas, and this number is increasing rapidly.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it in Senegal since the mid-1970s.
While the economic and social situation in Senegal is improving, 38% of people continue to live in poverty.
Poverty is highest in rural areas in the north, south and east. Many people live in rural areas, surviving off farming. They are often affected by climate change.
Due to the harsh living conditions in some areas, many families end up moving to cities in search of a better life.
The number of children who start attending primary school is 85%. However, 35% drop out before they finish primary school.
UNICEF estimates that before the COVID-19 pandemic, 1.5 million Senegalese children were not going to school. After 2020, and partly as a result of school closures, an additional 3.5 million were affected. Since 2021, the government and other organizations have been working hard to get children back in schools.
Around 18% of children under the age of 5 are not growing as they should, because they do not get enough food.
Families are often not able to feed their children nutritious food. Climate change and the recurring droughts and floods means that 4.2 million people in Senegal are food insecure, meaning they lack access to sufficient nutritious food.
Senegalese children are amongst the most affected by climate change. Unless measures are taken, more children and young people will suffer.