In Senegal, HI is working to develop an inclusive, sustainable and equitable society to improve the quality of life of vulnerable people, including people with disabilities.
In May 2022, HI began mine clearance activities in Casamance, in the south of Senegal, where the organization has already cleared almost 470,000 meters of land since 2008. | © A. Sawadogo / HI
HI is working where the needs are greatest, namely the two regions of Dakar and the three regions of Casamance.
HI teams run training and vocational & economic inclusion projects for vulnerable people and people with disabilities to help advance equal opportunities. They also work to protect and promote the rights of people with disabilities, with a particular focus on preventing violence against women and girls with disabilities. HI supports associations and women with disabilities leading the response to violence and discrimination.
HI is running several inclusive education and economic inclusion projects designed to increase basic education opportunities, develop skills and promote the success of young people with disabilities throughout the learning process. To combat prejudice and improve teacher training, our teams work alongside local authorities and support Senegalese associations in their advocacy activities. They also work to raise awareness among the various actors in the employment world and to improve the accessibility of services and structures.
HI also works to promote sexual and reproductive health rights, focusing on women and teenage girls. Awareness-raising and training activities are carried out with civil society organisations. Physical and functional rehabilitation projects are also run, aimed at strengthening existing health centres and their capacity to respond to the needs of the population.
Our mine action team implements demining, surveying and risk education activities to promote the building of sustainable peace in Casamance. They conduct clearance operations to release land back to the communities and improve access to services.
Senegal is a major economic power in West Africa, but a substantial percentage of the country's population lives in a situation of extreme poverty. People with disabilities are often discriminated against and are highly vulnerable.
The country is politically stable and economically dynamic, although the COVID-19 pandemic affected growth in 2020. Despite this stability, the crisis in Casamance, ongoing for 40 years, has caused a large number of mine accidents. In Senegal, the management of small arms and explosive weapons remains a sensitive issue. The Casamance conflict has led to population displacements and access to agricultural land is limited in this region, considered the 'breadbasket of Senegal.'
The legislative framework for disability has changed for the better since 2010, when Senegal ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, people with disabilities still face barriers on a daily basis when trying to access health, education and employment services. Victims of discrimination and marginalized within society, they continue to fight for recognition of their fundamental rights. Increasing the school attendance rate of children with disabilities, which is far below the national average, is one of the big challenges in the development of education in the country.
Number of HI staff members: 80
Date the program launched: 1995