Learn about what we do here at Peace Corps Senegal.
Much international development work fails to produce lasting results because projects often ignore the priorities of the participating communities. Peace Corps volunteers take a different approach: volunteers live in assigned communities, speak local languages, and thereby have a more informed opinion regarding appropriate and effective development work.
To help them serve effectively, prospective volunteers begin with two months of Community Based training (CBT) emphasizing linguistic and cultural integration as well as sector-specific technical skills. Upon arriving in their new communities the volunteers’ greatest tool as development agents is their intimate knowledge of their sites, acquired by first spending time learning rather than teaching. Volunteers then complete In-Service training (IST) during which trainers teach additional technical skills and their application in specific areas throughout Senegal. After building relationships with community members, volunteers introduce project plans that emphasize capacity building and empowering community partners to drive local development. Volunteers employ a participatory approach to projects encouraging communities to form a plan of action for sustainable change.
More than 230 Volunteers serve across Senegal, in 12 of the 14 regions of the country. They are placed according to the needs of the communities who requested them, regional development priorities, and national project plans that represent a partnership between Senegal’s government ministries and Peace Corps’ development professionals. Volunteers work within the sectors of Sustainable Rural Agriculture, Urban Agriculture, Environmental Education, Health Education, Agroforestry, and Small Enterprise Development and Eco-Tourism.
While every Volunteer works within specific sectors, they often work with their communities to accomplish broader development goals. Volunteers realize these goals by pursuing work within secondary fields and other Peace corps initiatives. Peace Corps Senegal's Initiatives are large-scale missions on which Volunteers place emphasis as they pursue their in-sector projects. Initiatives are frequently cross-sector, and therefore pursued by teams of Volunteers with diverse backgrounds.
Currently, Peace Corps Senegal is pursuing four primary initiatives:
Volunteers arrive in three training groups: Health and Environmental Education trainees arrive mid-March, Business trainees in mid-June, and Agriculture trainees in September.
Senegal is a largely agrarian nation; therefore the majority of volunteers in the country tend to be assigned work within the agricultural sector. Peace Corps Senegal offers training to volunteers in three different agriculture sectors: sustainable agriculture, urban agriculture, and agroforestry. Most non-irrigated agricultural work takes place in the southern half of the country where the rainy season produces enough water to grow field crops and a variety of tree species. Therefore, Peace Corps Senegal agriculture volunteers are predominantly placed in the regions of Fatick, Kaolack, Kaffrine, Tambacounda, Kedougou, and Kolda. There are, however, a few urban agriculture sites scattered through the north.
Health and environmental education volunteers work alongside the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. Volunteers are paired up with Health Posts or teams of health workers within their communities or with the local public schools. They are widely dispersed throughout the country and often collaborate at the field level.
Volunteers in the business sector tend to be placed in larger communities offering volunteers greater infrastructures in which they can work. Within larger communities, businesses, artisans, schools, and community organizations are consolidated, allowing the volunteer to cover more ground and reach more people. Ecotourism volunteers work predominantly south of Dakar and in Kedougou, the far southeast corner of the country. These tourist destinations vary from scenic beaches, sun, and artisanal wares, to mountainous forested terrain, waterfalls, and wildlife. Volunteers work to develop sustainable tourism, hotel management, energy saving techniques, and generally strive to ensure that as Senegal increases its tourist trade, it does not do so at the expense of its great natural beauty and human dignity.
Peace Corps Senegal participates in the Peace Corps Response program that provides Returned Peace Corps Volunteers the opportunity to serve again in rewarding, short-term, specific assignments. Peace Corps Response Volunteers bring their unique skills and experience to projects where they are needed the most.
Peace Corps Senegal Volunteers collaborate with a wide range of government agencies, donors and non-governmental organizations to help communities across Senegal.