Women working at the Frip Ethique sorting warehouse in Dakar, Senegal. Credit: Rachel Manns / Oxfam

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Senegal is one of the most stable countries in West Africa, but this stability cannot hide the poverty that prevails.

More than half of its 12.5 million inhabitants (UN, 2009) live below the poverty line. It ranked 166th out of 199 countries in the UNDP's Human Development Index 2009. Its economy is dominated mainly by peanut farming, fishing and services. The agricultural sector – the largest provider of jobs and resources – is going through difficulties because of a lack of modern agricultural equipment. As a result, the consumption needs of the population are not met. Senegal is a country that depends heavily on imports of basic foodstuffs such as rice.

Oxfam in Senegal

Oxfam has been working in Senegal since 1981, focusing its work on gender, governance, peace and security in Casamance, and fair trade. Over the past 30 years, we have worked with 50 civil society organizations.

Oxfam's work today focuses on three main areas:

  • Governance and citizen control: full participation in the political, social, and economic life for women and youth through a shift in power relations and active citizenship.
  • Sustainable livelihoods and food security: improving access for men and women to livelihoods and their control to increase their income and ensure food security.
  • Humanitarian action: improving knowledge of disaster risks and increasing the knowledge of communities to cope.

As part of refocusing our work in Senegal, Oxfam has identified three geographic areas: northern (regions of Saint Louis and Matam), eastern (Tambacounda and Kedougou), and southern Senegal (regions Ziguinchor, Kolda and Sédiou). These regions were chosen because of the level of vulnerability and the presence of strong partners.