Results around the world – Senegal
Senegal has gained a reputation for its vibrant democracy, the result of decades of peaceful political transitions marked by freedom of the press, progress on gender equality, and freedom of association. In 2012, the government proposed an ambitious strategy, the Plan Sénégal Emergent [emerging Senegal plan], which seeks to accelerate Senegal’s journey toward emerging market economy status by 2035. In short, the country is making progress thanks to major reforms.
Despite recent gains, however, Senegal still ranks only 162nd out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2016 Human Development Index.
Although there has been a substantial increase in agricultural production, Senegal is struggling with the effects of climate change, which are threatening the productivity of its agricultural sector.
The low quality of education leads to high failure and dropout rates, especially among girls. The large proportion of youth in the population poses a challenge for education and training and is putting pressure on the labour market.
Notable progress has been made on women’s and girls’ rights, whether in terms of the legal and institutional framework or the many policies and activities designed to promote and protect women’s rights. However, significant socio-cultural and legal constraints continue to impede the full realization of these rights. Practices harmful to the health of women and girls persist and continue to undermine the rights of women and girls. These practices include early marriage and pregnancy, as well as limited access to sexual and reproductive health services.
To address these challenges, Canada directs its assistance to sectors that meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, in accordance with the vision set out in the Plan Sénégal Émergent. Canada is focusing its assistance on the following areas:
- human dignity, through education, vocational training, and sexual and reproductive health services and related rights
- inclusive governance, through the management of public finances and through human rights
- growth that works for everyone, through agricultural and water management
- In the education and technical and vocational training sector, the ongoing commitment of the governments of Senegal and Canada resulted in the distribution of more than 1.2 million textbooks at the beginning of the school year to all of Senegal’s public elementary schools. Over the past four years, the two countries’ respective commitments have made it possible to provide more than 6 million textbooks and teaching guides that are in keeping with the basic education curriculum. In addition, a new textbook repair trade was created by training 40 young repairers of educational books (26 of them women), a first step that will double the lifespan of textbooks and consolidate gains in this sector.
- In addition, in the technical and vocational training sector, Canada has helped to set up 30 training programs for technicians through partnerships between Senegalese training institutions and Canadian CEGEPs (junior colleges), institutes and colleges. To date, these programs have trained 1,278 young women in sectors that both meet labour market needs and provide well-paying jobs.
- In the sexual and reproductive health services and related rights sector, Canada’s official development assistance has made it possible to recruit and train more than 400 women from the Kolda and Kédougou regions to conduct communication activities to encourage changes in behaviour and teach their peers new practices that improve the health of women and girls, including family planning. More than 60,000 people, including 44,500 pregnant and nursing women, benefited from these activities, which included village discussion groups, home visits and radio programs and that allowed them to receive advice and services pertaining to birth spacing methods and the options available to them and their families.
- The SHOW project (Strengthening Health Outcomes for Women and Children), which mainly targets teenage girls, also focuses its awareness campaigns on the root causes of the low demand for maternal, newborn and child health services (MNCH) and sexual and reproductive health services (SRH). Through the production and broadcasting of 70 radio programs, residents in several districts were made aware of the challenges related to MNCH/SRH and gender equality, including the importance of ensuring men’s commitment to these issues.
- In the water management sector, and to help the most vulnerable people, Canada introduced an innovative approach that combined weather monitoring and agricultural insurance to help small-scale farmers mitigate the risks of varying climate conditions. Senegal is increasingly facing irregular rainy seasons, and thanks to the acquisition of 25 rain gauges—weather instruments that measure precipitation amounts—farmers can better predict the impact of reduced rainfall on crops and make adjustments, while insurance can provide financial compensation to farmers in the event of decreased production resulting from a lack of rain.
- In terms of governance, Canada provided considerable support for the implementation of the Plan Sénégal Émergent. Canada also supported the implementation of major reforms to improve the performance of Senegal’s public institutions and the growth of its economy. The Plan Sénégal Émergent received general budgetary support, which enabled the country to contain inflation and reduce the public deficit to a level near the target set by the West African Economic and Monetary Union. The country’s economy also grew by an annual average rate of more than 6% over the past four years.
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