In Senegal, school attendance rates are low and drop-out rates are high, especially for girls. Malnutrition is also high, affecting 26 percent in children under the age of five due to insufficient diets and poor sanitation practices. Moreover, rural areas see chronic malnutrition twice as high as urban areas. Many children do not receive the nutrition needed at home to help them grow strong and stay attentive in school. With these problems intertwined, it is vital to address education, health and nutrition in concert.
Counterpart has been addressing health and education in Senegal through the Food for Education program since 2001. Most recently, our previous program provided 4.5 million meals to 25,000 children in 174 schools throughout the Matam region, dramatically improving school enrollment and retention rates, especially among girls. Our current program will expand on these results in the St. Louis region, focusing on improved literacy and health and nutrition. The program will work directly with teachers, parents, community members and government to:
- increase student attendance by providing two daily meals at school;
- strengthen the capacity of school administrators and teachers to improve education quality and increase teacher attendance;
- train Parent Teacher Associations and other community members about the value of education and good nutrition;
- improve school infrastructure through the construction of classrooms, separate girls’ and boys’ bathrooms, water stations, cafeterias and stoves;
- establish sustainable community farms and granaries;
- provide training on safe food preparation and storage practices;
- provide training on preventative healthcare.
The program will focus on achieving the following impacts:
- provide 3.97 million meals to students;
- reach 270 primary and preschools and more than 37,000 children, mostly girls;
- train community members about the benefits of formal education;
- provide training and certification to 1,200 school administrators and teachers, educating them on topics including literacy, mediation, conflict resolution and enrollment advocacy;
- connect 270 Parent Teacher Associations with “sister schools” to share best practices and learn techniques for building sustainable granaries and school canteens;
- distribute de-worming medication to 33,000 children;
- build latrines and water stations in 41 schools;
- plant Moringa tree seeds at 110 schools.
Sustainable Development Goals Addressed
Funder: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Collaborators: Ministry of Education; Departmental Inspector of National Education; Government Agency in Charge of Early Childhood Development; United States Peace Corps; Agricultural Services Department; local parent associations and government agencies.