Senegal – National Council of YMCAs
Date of foundation of the YMCA: 1982Membership Status: Full
Full member of the World Alliance of YMCAs since: 2002
Brief YMCA History
YMCA Senegal was created on 1982 by the former minister Robert Sagna. He got this idea from a trip he made in United State when he was in charge of human promotion.
During his journey, he has seen the important influence that YMCA had on the youth life. And when he came back, he decided to establish a YMCA movement in Senegal with the support of partner from US. Seven (7) months later, the YMCA Senegal has been recognized as an NGO on June 10th, 1983.
A year later, it got its registration number. As a committed organization for youth development, YMCA started with youth training by creating a Center in Dakar, the capital City of Senegal where young people were trained on self business.
Thanks to the success of the activity, YMCA create regional representation fistful in Thiès and then in Ziguinchor to reach more young people.
YMCA is a youth organization promoting youth development in a general framework. So as a component of the society, their development should pass by some critical steps. That’s why YMCA Senegal’s mission is: To build a strong youth which is responsible in their family, leader within their peers and committed within their community.
• Education and training
Kinder garden in the national headquarter and in Djikesse (Casamance region)
Primary school of seven (7) Classrooms to offer good education to children from underprivileged families.
IT classes for kids and adults
Literacy for illiterate
Awareness about HIV/AIDS
Sessions about Reproductive health
Malaria sensitization and mosquito nets distribution
Promoting health access to vulnerable and marginalized young
Youth work Camp for public utility
Day camp for kids
Activities to address climate change
• Supporting peace effort in Casamance
Address – National Office
Mr Jean Bassene
Avenue Bourguiba X Rue 12 Bène Tally
BP 4152 Dakar
Tel: 00221 338241385
Fax: 00221 338242444
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.’