The West African nation of Senegal is one of the most stable democracies in Africa. After gaining independence from France in 1960, Senegal has been very successful at exercising political participation and peaceful leadership. Senegal's economy is mainly based on agriculture, with 78 percent of its 13 million people employed in the sector.
Senegal was the first country of intervention for The Hunger Project in Africa; we have been working there since 1991. The Hunger Project-Senegal is now empowering partners in 10 epicenter communities that include 200 villages. Through its integrated approach to rural development, the Epicenter Strategy, The Hunger Project is working with partners to successfully access the basic services needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and lead lives self-reliance.
Increasing Food Security
As part of the Epicenter Strategy, The Hunger Project-Senegal continues to empower and support farmers with trainings and materials to increase and diversify their food production. In light of the recent food crisis, the food stocks at the epicenters have played a significant role in providing food grains to partners in these communities and thus protecting them from sudden hunger.
Adult and child literacy programs conducted in local and national languages are being carried out at epicenters as well as literacy centers. The Hunger Project-Senegal has been very successful in making available primary schools that have benefited young children in the epicenter communities where they get one nutritious meal a day.
Piloted in the self-reliant Mpal Epicenter, The Hunger Project-Senegal, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has been successful with the introduction of nutritional supplements for children. This product, which is processed and packaged at the epicenters, has improved the health of children in the communities while providing an additional source of income for the epicenter as well. Seeing the high demand by mothers for the nutritional supplement at Mpal Epicenter, The Hunger Project-Senegal is now working on industrial production of the feeding bags in other epicenter communities as well.
Through its Microfinance Program in the first half of 2012, The Hunger Project disbursed loans totaling $491,139. Partners in Senegal deposited $285,345 in savings during the year. Of the 10 epicenters that are operating in Senegal, three have government-recognized Rural Banks.