Senegal sits on Africa’s west coast; its capital, Dakar, is the westernmost city on the continent of Africa, making it a leading center for European and trans-Atlantic travel. The country of Gambia reaches nearly 200 miles into the center of Senegal.

  • Population: 13,726,000
  • Life Expectancy: 63 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 73%
  • School Enrollment: 79%
  • Land Mass: 75,954 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 50%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 60/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 1,040

Facts about Senegal

Child Protection

Senegal’s population is young, with about 52 percent being under the age of 19. Child rights abuses are still widespread and sometimes very visible.

Food & Agriculture

Agriculture is the principal source of income for 60 percent of the population. Unfortunately, Senegal’s agricultural sector struggles with rapid population growth, rural exodus, and a fragile natural resource base that have combined to constrain crop production.


Malaria and diarrhea also threaten children’s health.

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Progress in Senegal

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2014.

  • We supported children to obtain birth certificates and raised awareness among local leaders about the importance of birth registrations for children to complete education and ensure their rights are protected.

  • We educated parents, community members, and youth about child protection and how to respond to violations of child rights.

  • We collaborated with our micro-lending organization, VisionFund, to facilitate access to credit and increase household economic opportunities.

  • We trained teachers on using effective teaching methods, developing reading materials for children, and supporting students who are struggling in school.

  • Students are benefiting from a better learning environment in new, fully furnished classrooms we provided.

  • Farmers were trained on environmental management best practices to help them improve and sustain their agricultural productivity.

  • We partnered with churches to ensure cereal banks can provide enough food for vulnerable households throughout the year. Farmers deposit their harvested grains in these "banks" and withdraw grain later to feed their families. When the harvest is small, farmers can take a loan of grain and repay it later.

  • School youth and community women's groups were educated on HIV and AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment in order to stop the spread of the illness.

  • We supported communities to improve child nutrition through education, growth monitoring, and rehabilitation of malnourished children.

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    World Vision in Senegal Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Senegal to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 12,100 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Senegal. Highlights include:

    • Improving family health by expanding healthcare services and focusing on malaria prevention, maternal and neonatal health, nutrition, HIV and AIDS awareness, and immunizations.
    • Continuing to improve clean water access with new wells and training technicians on how to maintain and repair existing wells.
    • Improving the quality of education through promoting pre-schooling and helping communities upgrade their primary schools to respond to national standards (size, numbers, equipment for classrooms, latrines, etc.)
    • Setting up community cereal banks to enable communities to do gardening and have food security.

    World Vision History in Senegal

    World Vision assistance to Senegal dates back to 1975; an office was opened in 1983 in response to drought that was sweeping West Africa. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Helping victims of drought and providing food, counseling, and improved water access during the 1980s.
    • Implementing a locust control program to prevent future crop loss in the 1980s.
    • Drilling wells and improving agriculture, literacy, and health since the 1990s.
    • Focusing on water development, sanitation, education, AIDS and HIV awareness, and other interventions since the beginning of the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Senegal sits on Africa’s west coast; its capital, Dakar, is the westernmost city on the continent of Africa, making it a leading center for European and trans-Atlantic travel. The country of Gambia reaches nearly 200 miles into the center of Senegal.

    Low, rolling desert plains in the north give way to foothills in the southeast. The tropical climate includes a May to November rainy season and a dry season from December to April. Natural resources include iron ore, fish, and phosphates.

    Most Senegalese work in agriculture, growing groundnuts, corn, rice, and cotton. Other important industries include fish processing, petroleum refining, and phosphate mining.

    Senegal’s largest ethnic group — the Wolof — make up more than 43 percent of the population. The country’s official language is French, but the majority of people speak other dialects, especially the indigenous language of Wolof.


    Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, various European traders set up posts on the Senegal coast to export ivory, gold, and slaves. The French eventually incorporated Senegal territory into French West Africa by 1895.

    Senegal gained independence from France in 1960, beginning 40 years of socialist rule. The Senegalese elected Abdoulaye Wade as president in 2000, concluding the socialist party rule. In 2004, Senegal separatists and the government signed a peace agreement that ended a guerrilla campaign begun in 1982. The conflict displaced more than 64,000 people.

    Senegal continues to hold democratic elections today.

    Prayer Requests for Senegal

    • Please pray for mothers whose children are malnourished, that they would seek support at our nutrition learning centers.
    • Pray also for children who want to go to school, yet lack classrooms and books.