The Republic of Senegal, located just off the West African coast, has one of the most stable economies in the region, but there are surprisingly high unemployment and poverty rates. With a population of 15.85 million, 39% of Senegal’s citizens are living in poverty. Senegal is one of many nations that rely solely on rain seasons for resources and goods to sell – when the rain does not come, crops cannot be harvested, sold or traded. Lack of rain can also start brush fires that destroy crops and shock rural towns into food insecurity. All of these factors contribute to a system of poverty and hunger that must be addressed. Here are 6 facts about hunger in Senegal.
6 Facts About Hunger in Senegal
- In 2014, the Malabo Declaration was signed at the Summit of the African Union. It planned to end food insecurity in Senegal by the year 2025, with a focus on malnutrition among children. The World Food Program is also partnering with local organizations to monitor and analyze food and nutrition insecurity.
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #2 was proposed at the same Summit of the African Union. Its goal is to eliminate hunger in all forms by 2030. This will be achieved by setting in place sustainable solutions such as high-quality farming equipment that allows farmers to sell goods for higher prices at markets. Prices often fluctuate due to the quality of the crops being sold, so better equipment allows for consistently better quality goods, bringing more income to rural towns.
- Special food distributions are being delivered to the elderly and disabled in all 14 regions of Senegal by the World Food Program. The program is also actively working toward expanding rural developments and safety net programs that cover all citizens considered food or income insecure. This will greatly benefit the fight against hunger in Senegal.
- Organization Action Against Hunger provided nearly 14,000 people in Senegal with access to clean water and nearly 23,000 people with food security and safety net livelihood programs following a significant drought in 2018. Action Against Hunger sent out emergency response teams to distribute as many resources to affected areas as possible. This will ultimately aid over 62,000 people in Senegal.
- As larger cities begin to urbanize, poverty-ridden rural towns are often left behind. The most particularly affected by this shift in modernization are women, children and elderly people living in these small rural towns. They are the most vulnerable to food insecurity and further complications.
- In Tambacounda, an app was developed for farmers by Senegal’s government and international partners. The app allows them to track the weather and prepare to protect crops from any incoming storms. Additionally, it provides insight into animal health and personal nutrition.
Hunger in Senegal has been an increasingly pressing issue over the last two decades. Currently, Senegal is one of seven African countries that have succeeded in reducing food insecurity and malnutrition; since the year 2000, malnutrition in the nation has been lowered by 56%. Reduction of hunger and malnutrition remains Senegal’s main priority; analysis has shown that the education of farmers in nutrition and efficient farming practices has contributed towards this goal. There is still much work to be done, but great strides have been made.
– Kim Elsey