Senegal

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MANDATE

Handicap International has 24 projects in Senegal with the goal of improving the living conditions of people with disabilities and improving their social and economic inclusion in the country as well as assisting the victims of landmines. The organization employs 50 national staff and four expatriate staff to carry out its mission in Senegal.

BACKGROUND

Handicap International has actively worked in Senegal since 1995. Although Senegal is the fourth largest economy in the sub-region of West Africa, almost half of the population lives in extreme poverty (UNDP: human development report 2011). The Human Development Index has dropped since 2007, and Senegal is once again one of the world’s Least Developed Countries. Though Senegal ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on September 7, 2010, people with disabilities find it hard to access basic services (health and education) or to earn a regular income.

Landmines were widely used in an internal conflict that gripped the agricultural region of Casamance in southern Senegal beginning in 1982. This region is still polluted with mines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO).

ACTIONS

INCLUSIVE EDUCATION & EARLY DETECTION

Handicap International is actively promoting the inclusion of children with disabilities in the Senegalese education system by training teachers to incorporate techniques adapted to the learning styles of children with disabilities. Puzzles, construction games, and Braille tablets that have been locally developed are used to assist this activity. Beneficiaries include 2,000 children with disabilities, 30 trainers, and 1,100 teachers. Handicap International also runs a program to improve the social inclusion of children with disabilities by promoting better access to practical sports and leisure activities, such as neighborhood football clubs.

Handicap International has also worked with 30 schools to strengthen the systems of child abuse referral and prevention, and provided equipment and training to five health centers suited for early detection of disabilities in newborns and children. Beneficiaries of these efforts include at least 500 children with disabilities, as well as approximately 5,000 children who will benefit from early detection services.

ECONOMIC INCLUSION

The "EMPHAS" Project promotes decent employment for people with disabilities, especially young people and women, through a social dialogue and corporate social responsibility. Due to the lack of balance between the abilities of people with disabilities seeking employment, and the perceptions and demands of the world of employment, Handicap International not only provides technical training to improve the competencies of people with disabilities, but also advocates for the physical and social adaptation of work environments to accommodate disabled employees. At least 500 adults with disabilities (50% women) and 90 public and private employers directly benefit from this project.

Child Abuse Prevention

Handicap International's TOGETHER Projects advocated on local and national levels to raise awareness on the prevention of sexual violence against children. Handicap International has trained health professionals to deal with the physical and psychological obstacles faced by victims. Beneficiaries of this project include 7,600 people in the village of Kolda and the rural community of Coumbacara.

MINE ACTION & RISK EDUCATION

Landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) continue to displace and pose a threat to countless civilians across the country. Handicap International began its work against ERW in 1999, with a vast campaign to educate the population about the risks posed by mines. It then built an orthopedic fitting and rehabilitation center at the regional hospital in Ziguinchor to help the victims of these weapons. 

In the region of Casamance, Handicap International works with authorities to identify mined areas, and conducts community surveys to determine the exact locations of mine fields. In partnership with local development organizations, Handicap International has carried out risk education sessions in 65 schools to equip teachers with the skills to implement mine risk education activities in their classrooms and communities. After carrying out its first mine clearance program in the country from 2007 to 2012, Handicap International is currently implementing mine risk education and demining projects as part of a new one-year program that started up in September 2015. 

HIV/AIDS & DISABILITY

The ACCESS Project, conducted in partnership with local groups and NGOs, increases access to the use of HIV / AIDS prevention services for people with disabilities, and trains health professionals to manage services related to physical and communicative accessibility. Beneficiaries include at least 11,000 people with disabilities, 33 members of district health teams, 20 health workers trained in sign language in the field of HIV/AIDS, and 40 people with HIV trained in the rights of people with disabilities, among others. 

Project partners include:

  • Society for Women and Aids in Africa
  • SWAA Senegal
  • Initiative 5% / Expertise France
  • Ministry of Health and Social Action
  • Medical Ziguinchor Region
  • National Council for the Fight against AIDS (CNLS)

These projects are possible thanks to Handicap International donors, and the following funding bodies:

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