SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Senegal).

Ziguinchor is located in the province of Ziguinchor, in the very south of Senegal. Around 300,000 people live in this city, which is largely separated from northern Senegal by the country of Gambia. Ziguinchor is growing economically thanks to the production of rice and peanut oil, but is also a tourist destination. However, the region is still marked by conflict and violence. In addition, girls are victims of the practice of female genital mutilation, which is widespread in Senegal.

Since 1998, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Ziguinchor.

Of girls have undergone female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM), is, according to the World Health Organization, “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” This practice is still prevalent in Senegal, and around two million girls and women have undergone FGM. In the province of Ziguinchor specifically, an estimated 68% of girls have undergone this procedure. Although it is illegal, FGM is often considered a religious duty, associated with social standing. The target to end FGM by 2030 will require a major push from the government.

People have been displaced

Violence and uncertainty

Ziguinchor is located in the Casamance region in southern Senegal. This area is at the centre of the Casamance conflict, a conflict between the Senegalese government and the Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance that has been ongoing since 1982. Although a ceasefire has been in place since 2014, sporadic violence still occurs. In the region, which is marked by insecurity, 40 000 people have been displaced and the region's economy has suffered. Traditionally, agriculture was the main source of income, but the presence of numerous unexploded landmines on an estimated 1.2 million square metres of land has affected this activity. Children are the most affected by the violence and insecurity.

Your support makes a difference for children in Ziguinchor

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Siblings helping each other out. They grow up together, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in Senegal).

How your support helps in Ziguinchor

Strengthening vulnerable families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.