Louga is the capital of the Louga region, located in the northwestern part of Senegal.
Around 100,000 people live in the city, which is mainly dependent on agriculture. In a country that is severely affected by climate change, the livelihood of small-scale farmers is increasingly threatened by droughts and floods.
Children are affected by the consequences of food and job insecurity and are also victims of child labour and child marriages.
Since 1987, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Louga.
In Senegal, many girls are still victims of child marriages. Indeed, 29% of women are married before they turn 18. Child marriage is a violation of the universal declaration of human rights, and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound. There is also an increased risk of child pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and domestic violence.
Poverty is a major cause of early child marriage. In the province of Louga specifically, around 55% of all women were married before age 18. The target to end child marriage by 2030 will require a major push from the government.
In the words of Kofi Annan, climate change ”is vital question for Africa. No region has done less to contribute to the climate crisis, but no region will pay a higher price for failure to tackle it.”
Senegal is one of the countries that will suffer the most from climate change, which includes rising sea level and repeated droughts and floods.
In Louga specifically, a region that is dependent on agriculture, the consequences of climate change are very tangible. In a region where 27% of people live in poverty, many families could be affected. Children are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.