Despite significant economic growth and decades of political stability, Senegal still faces serious development challenges. More than one third of the population lives below the poverty line, and 75 percent of families suffer from chronic poverty.
Poverty and food insecurity are particularly prevalent in rural areas in the north, east and south of the country. The agriculture sector is dominated by subsistence farming, with limited access to good quality seeds and fertilizers, technology, finance and credit, agricultural insurance and post-harvest storage techniques. Reliance on traditional, unsustainable practices – including overgrazing and bush fires – contributes to land degradation. Climate change is also closely related to rural poverty and under-development: with 70 percent of the crops being rain-fed, the sector is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, which have severe impacts on the availability and prices of food.
The lack of employment and business opportunities in agriculture is a driver of migration, which leads to urbanization and emigration. Those left behind, especially women, children and the elderly, are particularly exposed to food insecurity and other risks.
Gender disparities remain widespread in the country, especially in rural areas where traditional and religious practices like early and forced marriage cause girls to drop out of school, reduce their productivity and perpetuate the cycle of inequality.
The World Food Programme (WFP) works to build the resilience of rural communities to climate change and enable smallholder farmers – including women – to earn a living on their lands. WFP targets the poorest regions, integrating its activities to build resilience, with its flagship ‘home grown school feeding’ programme serving as a central entry point for a suite of nutrition, disaster risk reduction and local procurement programmes implemented in the same localities to maximize impact. WFP works closely with the Government of Senegal, complementing its social safety nets and strengthening capacities at all levels to allow for a progressive handover of programmes.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Senegal
WFP provides nutritious meals for 294,500 school children in areas with high levels of food and nutrition insecurity, with additional activities to promote attendance by girls, as well as good nutrition practices. Food is procured through local producers, which stimulates agricultural production and the local economy.
WFP provides children and pregnant and breastfeeding women with specialized nutritious food to treat and prevent malnutrition, and promotes awareness on nutrition and infant feeding practices. WFP also supports government efforts to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies including through salt iodization and food fortification.
Through the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative , WFP supports communities exposed to climate shocks and other risks in building resilient livelihoods and sustainable food systems through the creation of productive assets, the diversification of sources of income, access to climate insurance and the setting up of village cereal banks to minimize post-harvest losses. WFP works with the Government to facilitate procurement for school feedings programmes through local smallholder farmers.
WFP works to strengthen the capacity of the Government and partners at all levels to manage food security and nutrition strategies by providing training and technical support in food security and nutrition analysis, early warning, insurance index design, supply chain management and emergency preparedness and response, with a special focus on gender.