Our Work

In Senegal

Despite Senegal’s strong economic growth in recent years, more than a third (39 per cent) of people there still live in poverty. Our sister organisation, United Purpose, first began working there in 2006. It expanded its work to support people in the Casamance region by integrating livelihoods with community networks, facilitating peace. Increasingly, we are supporting Senegal’s marine conservation efforts – particularly to protect the fragile biodiversity and rich ecosystems of its mangroves. 

Population: 17.7 million (UNFPA, 2022)
Life expectancy: 67 years (men), 71 years (women) (UNFPA, 2022) 
Capital: Dakar 
Area: 196,712 km²
Major languages: Most widely spoken language is Wolof, French is the official language. 
Major religions: Predominantly Islam 
Human Development Index: 170/191 


The country’s hugely successful mangroves restoration work has become an integral part of the organisation’s work in the country. Mangroves store up to four times more carbon per hectare than tropical rainforests. They can also reduce damage and flood risks. 
The Casamance region is known for its biodiversity and forests, but it is severely threatened by complex development factors as well as climate change. Through United Purpose, we have worked with the local community to improve forest protection by reducing timber and charcoal trafficking through effective environmental governance and monitoring based on citizen involvement. In addition to this, we support ecological livelihood opportunities and promote a culture of civic responsibility for environmental protection through a national advocacy campaign.  

 The challenges Senegal face are also keenly felt within the capital city Dakar, where more than 27,000 children are believed to be engaged in street begging. Despite Senegal ratifying all major international conventions on children’s rights, the failure to apply the laws remains a constant problem resulting in the exploitation of children becoming more and more severe. Our work in child rights and wellbeing focuses on improving the wellbeing of children in selected Daraas (local Islamic schools) by facilitating access to healthcare services and engaging them into education and sport activities. 

Senegal projects

IUCN Livelihoods & Mangroves Eco-Systems (The management of mangrove forests from Senegal to Benin)

Local economies in coastal areas rely heavily on the use of natural resources such as fish, seafood, salt, water and wood, which puts pressure on mangroves and forests. Senegal has an extensive policy of marine protected areas that aims to protect these resources; however, the policy sphere is not accessible to communities who depend on these resources for their livelihoods. 

Depleting marine resources is causing destruction of habitats and reduced incomes, as well as conflicts between and within communities. Through the IUCN project, we are implementing an ecosystem approach that considers mangrove wildlife habitats and humans use of mangroves for livelihoods and cultural purposes. Our aim is to support communities to live and work in marine-protected areas without causing environmental degradation, and in turn for the mangrove ecosystem to enable the people who depend on it to make a decent living. We are also seeking to influence policies, set up shared governance mechanisms, and implement functional frameworks for consultation and dialogue between communities, policy makers and the private sector.

Action for the rights of children – phase 3 (Action pour le respet des droits des enfants, phase 3)

Koranic education is a fundamental value of Senegalese culture; it is common for families to enrol their sons and daughters in koranic schools to learn the Koran and build character.  

Most koranic schools receive no government support, and families living in poverty are unable to meet their children’s needs during this time. Koranic schools in turn also have limited resources to meet the needs of the children in their care, meaning children can miss out on opportunities to thrive and learn.

Our project works with religious leaders and communities to ensure that children have access to formal education and vocational training, at the same time as their valued cultural and religious education. Our campaigns promote the rights of children, and we run art therapy and sport sessions to promote children’s emotional and physical wellbeing. 

We work closely with policy makers to develop locally appropriate solutions to end child begging, and we support local communities to develop sustainable and profitable livelihoods that enable the children and their families to participate fully in society. 

Tekki Jiggen

Women make up over 70 per cent of Senegal’s agricultural labour force. So, if we strengthen women’s agricultural businesses, we can strengthen a whole economy. But women face so many challenges because entrepreneurial services don’t take into account their specific needs and constraints. These challenges are felt within micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, from the formal to the informal sector, and are particularly true for women in rural areas.  
To help overcome this, with USAID support, the Tekki Jiggen project aimed to strengthen Senegal's economy by consolidating women's entrepreneurship and harnessing the power of ICT tools to facilitate women’s access to financial and business support services. 
We worked with microfinance institutions to digitalise the way they collect and analyse 
information used to assess suitability for a loan, by enabling women to use simple smart phones to submit information. This saved financial service providers time, and meant women who were successful in their applications could easily apply again, and have a record of a credit score. We also worked with business development services providers to digitalise their content, and broadcast videos, photos and voice messages in local languages via radio, WhatsApp and voicemail, so thousands of women across the country could access vital information to help them grow their business. 
The project aimed to enable women across Senegal to strengthen their businesses, no matter where they were from, their level of education, or how much money they had access to. 


United Purpose - Senegal
Immeuble Samassa, Sicap Karak, en Face de l'Ecole de Police, BP 25448 Dakar Fann, Dakar, Sénégal
Tel: +221 3419525
Email: [email protected]