Sightsavers in Senegal

We work with governments and local organisations in Senegal and countries across Africa to deliver vital charity work and make sure everyone has the chance to thrive.

Senegal is the westernmost country in Africa. Its capital, Dakar, is located on the end of the Cap-Vert peninsula.

Despite being one of the most stable nations in West Africa, Senegal is one of the world’s least developed countries and has high levels of poverty. Its main economic drivers are agriculture, mining, construction and fishing, with more than half of the population employed in farming.

The government of Senegal’s commitment to universal health coverage is currently hampered by weaknesses in the health care system, including financing and governance issues. As a result, people in rural areas face additional challenges when trying to access health care and essential medicines.

Four neglected tropical diseases that can be treated with preventative medication are endemic in Senegal. Campaigns to distribute the medication are helping to protect millions of people across the country from these debilitating diseases.

In 2010, the Senegalese government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Yet people with disabilities still face significant barriers in society when accessing education, health care and employment opportunities.

Facts about Senegal

  • Population: 18 million
  • Capital: Dakar
  • Official language: French
  • Human development index (HDI) ranking: 170 (low)

140,000 people in Senegal are estimated to be blind

347,000 people need treatment for river blindness

8% of adults are thought to have a disability

Sources: Sightsavers, ESPEN, Disability Data Portal

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Souleymane is riding a bike while members of his family watch on.

What are the challenges in Senegal, and how can these be addressed?

Souleymane is riding a bike while members of his family watch on.

Eye care

Only six of the 14 regions in Senegal have an ophthalmologist.

Not everyone in Senegal can access eye care, with people in rural areas most at risk from sight loss due to untreated eye conditions. Our charity work in the country is helping to improve eye health services for everyone.

An eye surgeon operates on a patient. Another member of clinical staff assists them.

Our eye care work in Senegal

Inclusive eye care

We work with organisations of people with disabilities to ensure marginalised groups and people in rural areas are able to be diagnosed and treated for eye conditions.
Learn about inclusive eye health

Cataract surgery

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in Senegal, but Sightsavers helps to provide operations that can treat cataracts and restore people’s sight.
Learn about cataracts


We use surveys to collect detailed data about people in the country who are blind or visually impaired, to tell us where our support is needed most.
Our in-house research

Infectious diseases

People in Senegal are at high risk of disease.

Four neglected tropical diseases that can be treated with medication are endemic in the country, putting millions of people at risk from illness and disability. In Senegal, our work on these diseases focuses on trachoma.

A child in Senegal holds antibiotic tablets in his hand.

How we’re tackling disease in Senegal

Treatment campaigns

Sightsavers supports Senegal’s ministry of health to distribute free medication that protects people from trachoma and other diseases.
How we distribute medication

Training volunteers

We train local volunteers to check people in their community for eye disease, give out medication and refer people for treatment.
About our volunteers


Digital technology is helping to eliminate diseases by enabling us to collect patient data so we know which communities are most at risk.
About the Tropical Data project

Inclusion and equality

People with disabilities in Senegal can’t access opportunities equally.

Women and girls also face stigma and discrimination in the country. Our charity work on disability rights in Senegal focuses on improving everyone’s access to health care, education and employment.

A woman sits talking on a mobile phone.

Our inclusion work in Senegal

Inclusive education

Sightsavers works with parents, teachers and local governments to make schools more inclusive for students with disabilities.
How our projects are transforming education in Senegal

Political participation

We’re ensuring people with disabilities can claim their right to vote and participate in leadership and decision-making roles.
How we’re promoting inclusive elections

Collecting data

In 2022, Sightsavers worked with the Senegalese government to launch an action plan to collect inclusive data that represents people with disabilities.
Learn about the action plan

Isseu stands in a classroom holding her crutches. She's wearing a vibrant yellow dress and headscarf.

“A woman with a disability in a position of power would be a good reference for people. I can be an example for young people with disabilities.”

Isseu stands in a classroom holding her crutches. She's wearing a vibrant yellow dress and headscarf.
Isseu is the president of the Association of People with Physical Disabilities in Kaolack, Senegal

How you can help

Our charity work in Senegal is helping to ensure everyone can be treated for eye conditions, but there’s still more we need to do.

With your support, we want to improve eye care services, protect people from disease and create a ripple effect in Senegal, so everyone can learn, earn and thrive. To do this, we need your help.

Charity donations, legacies, corporate partnerships and gifts from charitable foundations are a vital source of funding for our programmes in Senegal. We also welcome opportunities to work in partnership with governments, institutions and development organisations.

Contact us: If you have any questions about our work in Senegal, would like more details about our programmes or wish to discuss ways to donate or support us, email [email protected]

Latest stories from Senegal

Sightsavers' Laurene Lerclercq.
Sightsavers blog

How we’re transforming political participation in Cameroon and Senegal

Sightsavers’ Laurène Leclercq shares successes from an award-winning project in Cameroon and Senegal that’s supporting people with disabilities to participate in all aspects of political life.

Laurène Leclercq, March 2023
During a press interview in Senegal, a man faces a video camera while speaking into a microphone. Three fellow event attendees are standing behind him.

Senegal launches action plan to collect high-quality inclusive data

The initiative outlines the steps needed to ensure that people with disabilities are represented in official data, which will inform the government’s planning and monitoring.

December 2022
A woman sits talking on a mobile phone.

Sightsavers wins Zero Project award for work on political participation

The prize was awarded for our inclusion project which promotes the rights of people with disabilities to participate in civic and political life in Cameroon and Senegal.

December 2022
A woman with crutches walks into a building.
Sightsavers stories

We are… promoting inclusive elections

We’re working with partners in Cameroon and Senegal to ensure people with disabilities are able to take part in every stage of the political process.

A boy with crutches sits with his friends in the playground during lunch break at school in Senegal.
Sightsavers stories

In Senegal, we’re ensuring all children are able to go to school

Every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential. Your donations are helping to train teachers so they can welcome children with visual impairments and other disabilities into the classroom.

A large group of people stand on the main stage at the World Water Forum.
Sightsavers blog

Collaboration is key: lessons from the World Water Forum

Sightsavers’ Salimata Bocoum shares learnings, actions and reflections from the World Water Forum, where the importance of working together to fight neglected tropical diseases was a key theme.

Salimata Bocoum, April 2022

Discover where Sightsavers works in Africa and Asia

Where we work