Since 2015, MAP has been working in Mbour, Senegal, a city on the Atlantic coast south of Dakar, the capital city. The story of Mbour is emblematic of transformative changes occurring throughout Senegal and sub-Saharan Africa, and gives evidence of the need for the work MAP has accomplished thus far.
Senegal is located in a region known as the Sahel, a band of dry and arid land in between the Sahara Desert and the more tropical climates closer to the Equator.
While this area has been fertile for millions of years, climate change has made growing food for subsistence and for sale far more difficult, particularly for small farmers who don’t use industrial-scale, pesticide-driven farming. With shrinking opportunity in rural areas, the population of Senegal has rapidly urbanized, particularly to coastal cities, where migrants seek new opportunities in three growing industries: fishing, tourism, and construction.
As a result, Mbour grew from a town of 70,000 in 2000 to a city of nearly 700,000 this year. The rapid growth in population has strained the already-small number of schools in Mbour, as well as increased demand for health facilities and saturated the job market.
MAP addresses these challenges through a number of programs that directly benefit these migrating populations: