Senegal, Africa’s westernmost country, is divided into two separate areas culturally, ethnically and geographically. Islam spread to Senegal, along with Arabic traders, around the year 1000.
Senegal’s most important form of livelihood is agriculture. In the dry northern regions cattle-rearing is the main source of income. Indeed, when considering the population and area of Senegal the number of cattle in the country is significant. Many of the tribes living in the savannah and semi-arid areas live as shepherds. The Sahara desert is threatening to expand and drought threatens harvests and cattle.
FELM’s partner organisation in Senegal is the Lutheran Church of Senegal (LCS).
FELM currently supports two LCS development projects. The first relates to the right to study in one’s own mother tongue, while the second aims at improving livelihoods in rural areas. The former project’s main aim is to improve the quality of teaching and ensure that children have the right to study in their own language. In LCS’s pre-schools and literacy classes teaching is provided in three of Senegal’ main languages: Serer, Pulaar and Wolof. The language of teaching in state schools continues to be French.
LCS’s rural development project, on the other hand, aims at improving the livelihood possibilities of people living in rural areas. The project aims, in this way, to reverse the flow of people moving from rural areas to the cities. Other elements of the project aim at improving overall health levels and making drinking water more easily accessible.
LCS runs a project, in collaboration with Fatick district, to collect and recycle waste and to strengthen environmental education and thinking, especially amongst women and youth. The project also aims to use the waste materials to produce products which can be sold. The composting of waste is also being developed. Women and young people in the churches have arranged various events aimed at strengthening ecological thinking.
FELM supports work to develop the self-sufficiency of the Lutheran Church of Senegal, so that the Church would be able to carry out its work independently. The Church has 13 congregations and there are two districts in which it carries out proclamation work. FELM provides financial support to cover the training and wages of church workers for different tasks, including: diaconal work; music work; children’s work; and youth work. FELM also supports work to translate the Old Testament into the Pulaar language, which should help strengthen the proclamation work among Pulaar-speaking groups.