SENEGAL: Improving food security

In Senegal, thanks to funding from the Belgian development cooperation and the Walloon Air and Climate Agency (AWAC), the projects that are implemented aim to increase the population’s income, specifically for women through women’s economic interest groups (EIGs). Another goal is to adopt agro-ecological practices for sustainable land use.


In the Tambacounda region, local partner Am Be Koun Solidarité (ABK-S) assists the most dynamic EIGs, mainly through technical support (market gardening equipment, fences, wells, processing units, etc.) and organisational support (assistance with administrative and financial management). The installation of solar water pumps, which made women’s work considerably less arduous, was a great success in 2017.

In Mbour, the local NGO APAF Senegal is offering family farmers a unique agroforestry programme spread over three years. In order to benefit from APAF’s support, the candidates must own a hectare of land (around 2.5 acres) to cultivate, equipped with a well, and protected from ruminants by a natural fence made up of euphorbia and acacia trees. 100 new farmers and their families join this programme each year.

In 2017, they benefited from advice from APAF trainers and received the supplies needed to plant 80,000 trees (seeds, sheaths, small equipment). Thousands of hectares have been restored and reforested since the creation of APAF Senegal (which is a member of the APAF international network), with support and advice from various European partners, mainly ULB-Coopération.


In order to increase the robustness and sustainability of the projects, local NGO partners have taken courses in administrative and financial management as well as in project monitoring and evaluation. These exchanges of expertise take place efficiently, notably thanks to ADG, a member of the Uni4Coop consortium, which has staff on site. Along the same lines, two project managers from our local partners (Nebeday and Am bé Koun Solidarité) took part in a two-month international internship in Gembloux, as part of the training programme called “Designing projects for sustainable development, adaptation and mitigation of climate change”. Taking these Uni4Coop synergies a step further, this internship used an environmental integration tool developed by another consortium member,    Louvain Coopération!

Systemic and academic approach

Our support to family farming, our knowledge of health in the southern hemisphere, and our relationship with the School of Public Health (ESP) at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) have led to the emergence of action research. This shows the added value of a strong university presence within ULB-Cooperation. Thanks to funding from the Académie de recherche et d’enseignement supérieur (ARES), the ESP, Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar and      ABK-S are jointly conducting a study on the nutritional status of mother/child pairs among the beneficiaries of the NGO’s projects. This survey will serve to establish the basis for monitoring nutritional status and possible changes in nutritional behaviour over the next five years. In the long run, having educational tools about nutrition will be very relevant.

Toubacouta, from wood to straw

The inefficient methods of manufacturing and using charcoal, as well as its massive household consumption for cooking purposes, contribute to deforestation and significant greenhouse gas emissions. In its search for efficient biofuels, Nebeday, a local NGO partner specialising in environmental protection, has embarked on the creation of straw-based charcoal as an alternative to wood-based charcoal. In this way, the association intends to contribute to the mitigation and adaptation of climate change and to the improvement of the living conditions of local populations in the Fatick region. The straw recovered from the forests (to which rice starch is then added in order to make charcoal) constitutes a renewable biomass that helps      limit wood cutting, but also bush fires, two phenomena that generate high levels of CO2 emissions. This solution is currently at an experimental phase, with wood-based charcoal still being widely used . The second stage, which only began in 2017, aims to evaluate the adoption of this new charcoal by the population.