SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Senegal)

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.

Children are at risk

There are around 8.2 million children under the age of 18 in Senegal. Children and young people continue to face high levels of violence and lack of opportunities. Children's rights are not sufficiently protected: 23 % of children are forced to work. Girls are particularly vulnerable, as they are not only more likely to drop out of school, but are also at risk of early marriages, sexual violence and female genital mutilation. Young people, who make up 55% of the population, need a better education and training so that they can become independent.
Of the population lives in poverty

Widespread poverty

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.

Of Senegalese children drop out of primary school


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.

4.2 M
People in Senegal are food insecure


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.

Together we can make a difference for children in Senegal

Can stay together
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Medical treatments
Were possible
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Alima was unemployed and struggling to provide for her children. “At that time, I was about to take my children out of school, because of our financial situation. Luckily, I came into contact with SOS Children’s Villages, and thanks to their support, I did not need to do it,” she remembers. Alima became a working mother and an entrepreneur, launching her own poultry business and coffee shop (photo: J. Tradati).

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives