Senegal - National Council of YMCAs

Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1982

Membership Status: Full

Full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs since: 1991

Brief YMCA History

The Senegal YMCA was founded on November 21, 1982. Like other YMCAs around the world, the Senegal YMCA is a non profit and non political Christian movement, devoted to serve local communities through various and relevant programs. We also aim at bringing different peoples together through partnership and exchange programs with other YMCAs or similar organizations.

 The Senegal YMCA is composed of 12 branches in five (5) administrative regions of the country: Dakar, Thiès, Kaolack, Saint-Louis and Ziguinchor. The National Office is located in Dakar, Avenue Bourguiba X rue 12, Ben Tally. The local Branches do not yet have offices except for Ziguinchor (recently) and Kaolack where a telecenter serves as a meeting place. The establishment of those branch offices is one of our biggest challenges for the moment.


The Senegal YMCA is a member of the Africa Affiance of YMCAs and an associate member of the World Alliance of YMCAs. Strong partnership unite the Senegal YMCA with the YMCAs of the U.S.A. especially the International Division, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, the Ridgewood YMCA, and the YMCA of the Gambia. In the framework of programs, strong linkages have tied up relationships with the Y's Men and Y's Menettes International, and the YMCAs South Africa.

Mission Statement

The Senegal YMCA is a Youth non-for-profit, apolitical, Christian Organisation which aims at building healthy Spirit, Body and Mind for each individual for a harmonious development and a betterment of communities social and economic circumstances without any discrimination, in accordance with the Holy Scriptures.

Main Programmes

The Senegal YMCA used to have various and successful programs in the past, prior to the generalized crisis which lasted for about a decade. Another team of committed volunteers and staff have been striving for 5 years now to re-organize the whole structure and reorganize the existing programs. This has been possible thanks to the support of the Africa Alliance of YMCAs and the YMCA of the U.S.A. There is still much work to do but thanks to The Almighty God, we are progressively overcoming the various difficulties. For the time being, the main programs we're running are as follow


The Reproductive Health (A.R.H.) Program

This program started in 1997 with the financial support of an American organization named CEDPA. It was first oriented towards adolescents and we financially included other age groups for more efficiency. It continued up to 1999 with the financing of the Y's Menettes International for the year 1998/99. We have established a collaboration with the YMCA of South Africa to better develop this program. With the help of the YMCA of the USA, we have been approved a three-year grant (1999-2001) with Togo, Nigeria and Ghana YMCAs by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation to continue the program. This program is taking place in Dakar, Thiès, Kaolack and Ziguinchor with the active participation of the Boy Scouts Movement and the collaboration of valuable partners, under the direction of a National ARH Committee.


Day Care Center/kindergarten

The Day Care Center of the Senegal YMCA was opened in November 1999 within the YMCA main building, about one month after the normal school system in Senegal. It resulted from the deeply felt need among the communities neighbouring the YMCA centre. It has been realized thanks to the financial support of the Y's Men International as part of the Time Of Fast (TOF) project proposal. Its proper building has been completed last year and is operational since last October for this past school year and on. We are searching for complementary funds to complete the equipment. Due to the delay in opening the centre last year, the number of students was limited to 27 girls and boys aged between 2 to 5 years whose parents greatly appreciate this initiative. Today we have 72 kids in the three sections and we plan to have 105 children next year and use its full capacity.



Under the responsibility and care of the Dakar University Branch, the Senegal YMCA has been organizing, as every year, a twice-a-week program which consists on gathering children from low income families within the YMCA Centre for a mini day camp every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. The counselors teach them arts and crafts, organize excursions and outings, educate them on civic rights and duties, and moral values. They make children have real fun while learning many skills. This program has been successful and has been replicated in other branches (Parcelles Assainies, Dakar Médina).


Literacy Program

The literacy program started with the Parcelles Assainies Branch which is located in a suburban area of the same name. They gather illiterate people among the lowest income communities like household maids, apprentices etc, to teach them to read, write and understand French which is the official language. This helps the beneficiaries facilitate their own social and economic integration and give them the possibility to apply for better job positions. This program is evolving in an encouraging way as we have opened three more centers in Dakar (Saint-Maurice d'Angers, Castors, Ecole au marché) with the collaboration of other individuals sharing a common concern in this program and the assistance of dynamic YMCA volunteers. The program serves about 235 people.


Prisonners program

Under the care of the Gender Committee and the Dakar Médina Branch, we have developed a program with prisoners in Dakar (Reubeuss) and Rufisque. We help them in the promotion of their products (handmade items) which will help them re-integrate the economic system. We also have discussions over interesting issues like the reproductive health, hygiene in jail and project identification and implementation for their social re-integration. This program has been lauched for 3 years now and we still have interesting activities to come.


Multipurpose hall

For several years, the Senegal YMCA has been looking for financial means to cover the multipurpose room which is a potentially high income generating project. It is rented to individuals or groups for various uses (parties, ceremonies, cultural exhibitions, etc.). Thanks to the contribution of the Ridgewood YMCA, we have been able to partly cover the roof and the constructions are almost over by now. We are looking for additional funds to complete the roof, tile and equip the hall.


The Infoc@netcafe

With the help of the "Foundation for the future of youth, the Senegal YMCA has been working on an infoc@fe project since last year. This project has been approved and will provide the community with access to high technology with internet navigation, e-mail and bureautic services, computer training centre, and a café. This project will mainly benefit young people. The activities have not yet started due to delays in sending the machines, but we hope to receive them soon.



For three years, now the Senegal YMCA has been organizing Youth Work Camps during the rainy season (summer). They aim a gathering youth in some rural or semi-urban areas for the purpose of working on participative community development projects.


In collaboration with the national board, the Parcelles Asssainies branch has initiated a rural development project in Nguéniène in 1999, for the benefit of the youths of the village. This project was about setting up a poultry farm. Our intention is to pursue the initiative every year in order to be more active in rural community development. Consequently last summer, we organized a reforestation camp in a different place where the need was expressed by the village women association. This year, we will be having a reforestation camps again with the youth of another village in the same area as last year, then we will send young volunteers to take part in another youth camp organized by the Youth club of the Gambia YMCA.


ICCP (International Camp Counsellor Program)

The International Camp Counsellor Program (ICCP) allows the YMCA of Senegal to give young volunteers the opportunity to share their experience and culture with American kids, families and communities. In return they learn about American way of fife, culture, technology and receive a training which they share upon return with their fellow-volunteers of the YMCA and also their communities.



The Senegal YMCA has initiated an entrepreneurship program which aims at encouraging young people to involve in small-scale business enterprises. The objective is to empower the youth by providing training, technical skills and by helping them look for seed money from funding organizations for micro-project enterprises. We are still looking for funding organizations for the purpose of funding the project.

Address - National Office

Mr Jean Bassene
YMCA of Senegal
B P 4152/rue 12 X Bourguiba

E-mail: ymcasn(at)
Telephone: 00-221-824-1385
Fax: 00-221-824-2444

No YMCA accomodation available in Senegal.

From the Field : Senegal YMCA: youth enterprise and capacity building

There are lots of graduates in Senegal but not many jobs. To bridge this gap, two years ago a group of young people from the YMCA of Dakar attended the Ministry of Youth's entrepreneurship programme. Having done this they then began their own YMCA programme. The programme trains young people to start their own business, for example by writing project proposals and business plans, understanding the legal requirements of starting a business and conducting feasibility studies.


The intensive two week programme, now financed by Y Care International and Comic Relief, UK, has proved very popular with young people who have gone on to start businesses ranging from a food store to a printing company, a business sewing sheets for hospitals and a rabbit breeding enterprise. Other organisations also send participants, for example the National Council for Disabled People and the Scout Movement. Participants are eligible for small loans of a maximum of USD 900 from the YMCA, Micro Lending Agency and other organisations which, when paid back, is put into a revolving fund to help more young people.


The YMCA continues to offer young people support once they have started their business. Trainers visit the young entrepreneurs on a monthly basis to check their records, to give advice on difficult issues and offer support when they want to expand or try a new product.


Ninety-eight percent of new businesses are successful, creating jobs for young people as well as providing a means for them to support their families and contributing to the economic development of the community. Young people report feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment and of being someone in their community. Antoine Assine, who now runs his own hair salon, says of the YMCA training, "It helped make my dreams become a reality. What I have learnt has helped me become a good manager, as regards my finances as well as human resources."


The YMCA is currently the only organisation to run an entrepreneurship scheme in Dakar. It now plans to start Centres for Excellence, offering longer courses of 10 months. The first one is planned to begin in November 2004 in Dakar with financial support from the YMCA of Toronto. Besides entrepreneurship training, the institute will run courses such as reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, conflict resolution, social marketing and human rights.


The programme is not without its challenges. Prospere Gandoul completed the training and now runs a gardening business. "The first difficulty is financial. Even though I have received seed money from the YMCA it is not enough. It's also difficult to get access to land and it's not easy at all to deal with employees," he says. But Prospere believes that "the YMCA needs to keep on training more young people because it's a real need that can help alleviate youth unemployment."


Simon Lazarre Badiane

National General Secretary

YMCA of Senegal

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