About the project

YMCA Senegal and Y Care International have designed a project which takes a holisitc approach and works directly with young men and women living in remote rural communities. The “Ampa Awagna” project works with rural young people aged 15-30 across 8 different communities in three regions of Casamance  – Ziguinchor, Kolda and Sedhiou.

The project teaches agricultural entrepreneurship so that young people can develop new agribusinesses, increase crop yields and improve resilience to natural disasters and climate change. The aim is to generate an income, reduce poverty, with a focus on improving resilience to climate change and promoting access to land – two key challenges in Senegal.

The country’s history

Though generally described as one of the most stable countries in West Africa, Senegal suffers an economic divide between its urban and rural populations. In rural Senegal, agriculture is the main economic activity with 53% of the population employed in this sector. However, it only generates 16% of GDP. In these areas, food insecurity and youth unemployment are key issues.

In the rural Casamance region in the south of the country, the population has experienced environmental problems along with civil conflict. Although the climate is favourable to agricultural work – the region is seen as Senegal’s “wheat storehouse” – climate change effects such as drought, land degradation, salinisation and poor water access have led to unstable food production which has halted economic growth.

30 years of conflict in the region has increased migration to urban areas while landmines have made much land unusable.

Our work in Senegal

By supporting young people to gain the skills and confidence they need to secure decent jobs, we provide them with a viable alternative to migration.

We work with Senegal YMCA to reach some of the country’s most vulnerable young people, including those who were affected by the prolonged conflict in the Casamance region.

Read the feature about our work in Senegal via The Guardian.

What do we hope to achieve?

  • Train 400 rural young people in agricultural entrepreneurship skills and techniques
  • Create 90 new youth-led agribusinesses
  • Train 40 youth mentors to inspire and teach other young people at agricultural college
  • Train 200 young people in advocacy so that they are better able to campaign for land rights for young people
YMCA Senegal - Young partilly blind man smiling

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