Women and Food Security in Senegal

The populations in Senegal, whom are already affected by poverty and food insecurity, have been strongly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to respond quickly to this alarming situation, WECF France and our partner Enda Graf Sahel have been implementing the FEDIAAC project – Women Committed to Inclusive Development and Food Autonomy of their Municipalities.

This project that started in October 2020, covers four Dakar municipalities and will last for a period of two years. 680 women and 120 youth are being supported in improving food security in four communes of Dakar, Senegal. The trainings are part of a post-covid recovery program, contribute to the fight against food security, and support democratisation and the empowerment of women.

Senegal facing the Covid-19 pandemic

Agriculture holds an important place in the Senegalese economy. Nevertheless, the country struggles to cover most of its food needs, particularly due to the development of export crops at the expanse of food crops. Other things that are also contributing to this are: low production, difficulties in accessing natural and financial resources, a high unemployment rate which primarily affects women and young people, but also a lack of support from the state. Added to this are the substantial consequences of climate change (salinization, droughts and floods), as well as the degradation of ecosystems and the depletion of natural resources.

This context of poverty and food insecurity leads to a rural exodus towards already overpopulated cities and in particular towards the region of Dakar. Its urban outskirts are characterized by underemployment, a predominating informal sector, poverty and the difficulty to access healthy food that is sufficient in quantity and nutritional quality. These living conditions have been made even more precarious by Covid-19 and the measures put in place to limit the expansion of the virus. Thus, since March 2020, the food situation has become worrisome. The pandemic caused Senegal to lose the few and rare advances made in the improvement of food security and greatly increased the vulnerability of the populations.

Creation of a local and quality food chain

Through the FEDIAAC project food security is improved in four communes of Dakar by training and supporting 680 women and 120 young people. Despite the important contribution of women in the fight against food insecurity, the promotion of local products, job creation and the development of the territorial economy, – as demonstrated by numerous diagnoses and studies by our local partner Enda Graf,–most of them are still facing problems concerning access to land, production, processing and marketing infrastructure, as well as financial assets and training. Thanks to the training of market gardeners in agroecological techniques and by strengthening the value chain between restorers and processors, our project contributes to the fight against food insecurity, the democratization of access to quality products and the empowerment of women.

Strengthen the political participation of women in decision-making bodies

The project also works on a greater inclusion of women in food autonomy policies in Senegal, while at the same time fighting for gender equality needed to build a sustainable and socially just future. Training, such as the strengthening of negotiation capacities or political leadership, as well as a personalized support program contribute to the effective, equal and united participation of women in local decision-making bodies and in the development of public policies.

This project is supported by the French Development Agency (AFD).