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Urban Dakar Programme Unit


Plan Senegal helps children gain access to media so they can speak out on issues that affect them

Area: 130 sq. km
Population: 469,592 (2006)
Plan areas of operation: 2 districts, 4 municipalities
Sponsored children: Around 6,000

The Urban Dakar Programme Unit is located in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal’s capital. The area is very easily flooded during rainy seasons, which makes it unsuitable for living in. But rapid urbanisation combined with the massive rural exodus resulting from long years of drought and poor harvests have caused the area to become an overcrowded slum.

Plan started operating in Urban Dakar in 1992 and has brought about significant improvement in the lives of thousands of families in terms of quality education, child nutrition and youth entertainment.

Programme highlights

Quality education

In these slums, poverty is the main reason why children fail to attend school at all or drop out. The low income of most households and the high cost of tuition and school supplies limit the enrolment and retention of children in schools.

To support these low-income families, Plan Senegal provides free school supplies and scholarships to children starting high school. Plan also refurbishes schools damaged during flooding at the beginning of the academic year, constructs separate blocks of toilets for boys and girls so children no longer have to go home to go to the toilet, and works with communities to build schools.

Enhancing child nutrition

Plan Senegal’s nutrition programme aims to significantly reduce malnutrition of children aged 0-5 years. This includes cooking sessions at local centres which teach parents about following a nutritionally balanced diet.

We also visit households to identify children suffering from severe malnutrition, and support them with medical care where necessary.

Child expression through media

Plan helps children to speak out on issues that affect their lives so that they can bring about positive change. Groups of children from Diamagueune municipality have participated in a series of Plan-supported training sessions on photography, film making, video editing and creating comic strips. Proudly putting into practice their new skills, they produced a film (in Wolof) which advocated for local authorities to take children’s specific needs into consideration.

Emergency assistance to flood victims

After torrential rains poured down in August and September 2009, the whole area was completely flooded putting families and children in dangerous conditions. But Plan Senegal provided vital support to the most affected families including food stocks, emergency financial support and replacement school supplies for children. To help prevent manage the impact of the annual heavy rains, a Flood Management Committee and has been set up, and Plan Senegal has also held workshops for children, prefects, and the mayors of the 4 communes to create action plans in case of floods.