Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo is a Co-Director at World Renew CCIC: World Renew
SENEGAL - World Renew Senegal has long cooperated with the Lutheran Church of Senegal as a member of the Evangelical Committee for Health here. This 7,000 member church is among the largest Protestant denominations here and does great work in education, agriculture, and healthcare. After a few years of discussion, we are pleased to finally be partnering with them.
SENEGAL - Encouraging news from Linguére and Dakar! The Adolescent Health groups organized by our Senegal team and local partners celebrated the completion of their trainings with successful community events.
SENEGAL - In Senegal, we often follow the school year and so the team is nearing the year’s end of the Adolescent Health Program in Dakar and the Orphan and Vulnerable Children program in Linguère. The reactions from parents and participants in Dakar have been very encouraging.
Not long ago I visited Mariame Hanne in Linguére to learn more about the program that she runs serving orphans and vulnerable children. Mariame works with our partner organization, The Lutheran Association for Development in Senegal (SLDS). The program also supports caretakers of children under 1 whose mother has passed away, a common circumstance in a country with a high level of maternal mortality. Giving birth is dangerous here, as is life in general.
In my last post, I talked about the orphan and HIV/AIDS program we are working on in partnership with the Senegalese Lutheran Church Organization. I have since visited the program again and was again impressed with the staff’s care and support of the many vulnerable children and adults who often have no on else to talk to about their plight. HIV/AIDS is still taboo here so patients hide their status from relatives, perhaps protecting them from stigma but leaving them lonely and unsupported.
During last year’s harvest, as other farmers grumbled about low yield, Mustapha Fofana hoped for a bumper rice harvest. Mustapha had reason to hope: last year he harvested 180 bushels! “I used to grow just enough rice for my household to eat. But now,” he says proudly, “I can keep some and sell the surplus to pay my children’s school fees, buy school supplies, pay family medical bills, and meet other household needs.”
Growing up in a low-income community in Senegal or Nigeria can too often mean a higher rate of early marriage, early pregnancy, or transmission of HIV or another sexually transmitted infection (STI). Sexual coercion and abuse are also common for young women, and the majority of young people aren’t educated on the use and benefits of contraception. Health and sexuality are not topics of discussion among youth and their parents, and financial worries often take precedence over health and well-being, particularly for young women.