Geography and people

Senegal lies on Africa’s west coast and the bustling capital, Dakar, is the westernmost city on the continent. Land area about the same size as England and Scotland combined, but with a population of only 13.7million.

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. It is a leading center for European and trans-Atlantic travel. Other important industries include fish processing, petroleum refining, and mining of phosphates and iron ore. However almost half of the population is unemployed, with 29.6% living below the poverty line. Despite clear progress over the past decade, many MDGs will be difficult to achieve. Many families face chronic food insecurity, and stunting is a serious problem affecting one in four children. WV is especially engaged in the rural southern half of Senegal.

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

Map of Senegal


Life expectancy

Life expectancy

Literacy rate

Literacy rate

Access to safe water

Access to safe water

Average annual income

Average annual income

School enrollment

School enrollment

Fast facts


Senegal ranks 154 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. Around half of the population is unemployed and more than 29 percent of people live below the poverty line (UNICEF, 2007-2011).


The quality of healthcare in Senegal has decreased due to a shortage of funding and trained staff.


Many families face chronic food insecurity. 20,000 children in Senegal were estimated to be severely malnourished in 2012, and malnutrition continues to be a persistent issue.


Senegal has a low literacy rate of under 50  percent and low enrollment rates in primary and secondary schools. Many children do not go to school because they can’t afford uniforms and supplies. School also lack funding and basic resources, including textbooks, electricity and running water.


Our focus in Senegal

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Senegal to improve their lives today and to help deliver sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families and communities. Our child sponsorship programme plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United Kingdom sponsoring 6,740 girls and boys (as of April 2014) across four community projects. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programmes that benefit communities in Senegal.
Highlights of our work include:

Improving family health by expanding healthcare services and focusing on malaria prevention, maternal and neonatal health, nutrition, HIV and AIDS awareness and immunisations.

Offering children access to quality education and improving school facilities.

Continuing to improve clean water access with new wells and training technicians on how to maintain and repair existing wells.

Our Achievements in Senegal

World Vision’s work in Senegal began in 1975. In 1983 a National Office was opened, in response to drought that was sweeping West Africa. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments include:


Helping victims of drought and providing food, counseling and improved water access during the 1980s.

Food Security

Implementing a locust control programme to prevent future crop loss in the 1980s.

Community development

Improving literacy and health, drilling wells and improving agriculture since the 1990s.


Focusing on AIDS and HIV awareness, sanitation, water development, education and other interventions since 2000.


Pray for our work in Senegal »