Country Focus: Senegal – Improving Community Development and Health Outcomes

Date: 7th July 2017

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This month WSSCC highlights its work in Senegal where, in hand with government, it improves the sanitation, hygiene and health of disadvantaged people and communities. This takes place through:

  • A Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)-supported programme
  • The WSSCC/UN Women Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation
  • Policy advocacy across ministries to include sanitation and hygiene considerations, with attention to the needs of women and girls 

The GSF-supported  Senegal programme works to enhance overall community development and local support systems. Credit: AGETIP

This article highlights the impact of GSF-funded activities.

Supporting national goals, the programme uses Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and social marketing approaches in rural areas, targeting multi-family households, schools and public places. The programme is managed by AGETIP, a private non-profit entity established in Senegal. Implementing Partners work in four regions (Diourbel, Kédougou, Matam and Tambacounda) and include local NGOs and private companies.

Between 2010 and the end of 2016, and with a budget of 6.74 million, the programme assisted more than 465,000 people to live in open defecation free (ODF) environments. In addition, the programme has been the only initiative to achieve and sustain ODF status for an entire department – Matam. Success has been driven by promoting local support systems and income-generation opportunities, addressing the needs of women, girls and the most vulnerable, and focusing on overall health improvement.

Read more about this work below or in the latest GSF Progress Report.

Beyond sanitation: driving community development

To improve the chances of lasting change, the programme works with partners to ensure that local support systems are established in all target communities. Village development associations, micro-enterprises, hygiene committees and mason associations are operating, and Natural Leaders-who are activists and champions that emerge and take the lead during CLTS processes, have come forward.

Many of the village development associations are legally-recognized and trained in financial and organizational management, and Natural Leaders have been supported to form departmental and municipal associations.

Focused on overall community development, women-led village development associations include revolving solidarity funds, which all members contribute to. Through these funds, women can access credit for income-generating activities, such as market gardening, the production of enriched flour for children, and soap making, which has also helped communities reach ODF status. In addition, some proceeds from these activities support the poorest and most vulnerable community members to buy and construct latrines.

Soap making in the Matam department. Credit: AGETIP

A village development association in Darou Nahim, in the Mbacké department, includes a revolving solidarity fund through which each member pays a fee to access 15,000 CFA francs ($26.30), repayable over three months. Maty Guèye, a 52-year-old mother of six, heads up the association comprising 174 women.

Ever since the programme triggered her village, Maty has encouraged all women to join the association. Every week, she organizes collective income-generating activities involving disadvantaged groups, such as agricultural activities, animal breeding, and small-scale commerce, such as selling roasted peanuts and cosmetics.

“The only thing I care about is developing Darou Nahim,” says Maty. “And I know we can do it with the GSF-supported Senegal programme. We know that we are on the path towards empowerment. I feel invested in a mission to develop my community. I want Darou Nahim to become the premier village in Senegal.”

Mason associations have worked to improve latrine construction techniques, develop accessible latrines for people with disabilities, and improve sanitation marketing activities. The associations have helped increase local entrpreneurship and the number of businesses focused on sanitation. Some of these businesses are now competing for and accessing local contracts for the construction of latrines.

Maty Guèye: “We know that we are on the path towards empowerment.” Credit: AGETIP

“We have become our own doctors”: boosting health outcomes

Ibrahima Konté, a mason from Mbacké, lauds the health outcomes that the programme has helped realize:

“We have all become our own doctors, because we understand the value of cleanliness, hygiene and health. Now, the only people who go to the health centre are women who are pregnant or about to give birth… Malaria and diarrhoea are no longer part of our lives. We’re certain that you won’t recognize our village three years from now.”

The programme also champions menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in communities and schools. This has included developing a training curriculum, facilitating training sessions and developing indicators to monitor progress across all target regions. Male community members have been triggered to support these activities,  and training has been provided for implementing and technical partners.

Aminata Seck, a 20-year-old woman from Ndokal Village, Mbacké, reflects on the impact MHM has had on her and her peers:

“Before GSF, we didn’t even dare go out when we had our periods. The blood would drip down our legs because we used two or three loincloths or pieces of cloth that were not enough to catch it. Through the programme, we have completely changed what we do. We now use sanitary towels that cost 500 CFA francs [$0.85] a packet at the market, or pieces of clean cotton cloth. Now, when I get my period I can wear white, go out, and walk about without being afraid of getting my clothes stained. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished thanks to your programme.”

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