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Country Director's Welcome for Senegal

Greetings from the land of teranga (“hospitality” in Wolof)!

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Jo Anne Yeager Sallah, Country Director

Senegal is a country rich in cultural traditions with a long history of welcoming Peace Corps Volunteers. Known for its hospitality (“Teranga” in the national language Wolof), more than 4,250 Volunteers have served in Senegal. Peace Corps Senegal is proud of its strong tradition of effective and meaningful community engagement. Through our current programs in Agriculture, Environment, Health, and Community Economic Development (CED), most two-year Volunteers are based in rural areas, with Urban Agriculture and CED Volunteers serving in small- to medium-sized towns. In addition to working in their primary sectors, Senegal Volunteers also contribute to advance gender equity and youth engagement through soccer and after-school clubs and youth empowerment camps. Projects are identified and developed in conjunction with the communities in which Volunteers serve, and through these projects Volunteers work with local partners to develop innovative interventions, addressing issues such as food insecurity, climate change, and income generation for women and youth.

Senegalese are proud of their strong commitment to democracy and respect for the Constitution. Senegal’s 2024 presidential election cycle has tested the limits, as candidates, procedures, and voting timetables have been called into question. Yet with each challenge, the Senegalese sense of pride around their democratic system is further defined and strengthened. Peace Corps Volunteers are asked to abstain from engaging in local politics, but the shared commitment to strong democratic institutions and practices enhances the bonds between Peace Corps Volunteers and the communities where they serve. Peace Corps serves at the invitation of the Government of Senegal and our strong relationship provides the foundation upon which Volunteers are invited to serve in ten regions of the country.

The vibrant and proud people of Senegal are welcoming, generous, and deeply committed to community development and local empowerment. Embodied in the country’s name -- Senegal – in Wolof, “Sunu Gaal,” means Our Boat, reflects the concept of community cohesion and action. A strong commitment to community unity and support for each other is woven throughout the fabric of Senegalese society and culture.

Peace Corps Senegal’s training facility in Thies, is about 1 hour’s drive from Dakar, and 25 minutes from Blaise Diagne International Airport. The Thies Training Center (TTC) provides a perfect backdrop for local language and technical skill acquisition, and development of intercultural competencies such as humility, curiosity, and empathy. In operation for 40 years, TTC is a renovated facility that still retains its original architectural charm and character. The training staff share their passion for teaching several local languages: Wolof, Sereer, Fulakunda, Mandinka, Pulaar du Nord, Bambara, and Pullo Fuuta. Volunteers are not required to speak French before arriving in country, and Peace Corps Senegal does not teach French, as we find local language is the best way to build trust and understand community needs and problem-solving approaches. Some basic French is helpful for navigating the initial weeks in country. Our medical team provides effective health care (medical and mental health) support to Volunteers, including but not limited to encouraging Volunteers to actively develop and adopt self-care strategies to stay healthy during service. Our safety and security team provides insights and strategies to keep Volunteers safe in their communities and promote personal and situational awareness to reduce crimes of opportunity. Regional Teams are positioned in regional centers around the country to provide timely support as needed by Volunteers.

Peace Corps Senegal offers a culturally enriching experience to Volunteers who arrive with a mindset of service, curiosity, humility, and flexibility. If you are seeking a rewarding experience where you will grow personally, expand your professional skills, and hone intercultural competencies, Peace Corps Senegal may be a perfect fit for you. Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to see the exciting and diverse work that Volunteers are doing in Senegal. We look forward to welcoming you to the land of Teranga!

Jo Anne Yeager SALLAH