US Ambassador to Senegal Lewis A. Lukens and Senegal Minister of Education Kalidou Diallo today shared findings of a new study mapping the circumstances of the country’s youth and the state of its youth development programs.

The event was hosted by the Government of Senegal, in partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Youth Foundation.

The YouthMap assessment shows that Senegalese youth are eager and ready to learn, work, and contribute to their communities,” Ambassador Lukens said.  “Its findings, in consultation with the government, will serve well to inform future programming from USAID and other US government agencies to help meet the needs of Senegalese youth.”

YouthMap is a four-year, $10 million program supported by USAID and implemented by the International Youth Foundation across Sub-Saharan Africa. The event brought together the public, private, civil society and donor communities, as well as young people themselves, to solicit their ideas about critical next steps to promote positive youth development in Senegal, building off the findings of the assessment.

Those discussions focused on both the “supply side” of the programs and services already available to youth, as well as the gaps on the “demand side” that included young people’s perspectives on the challenges they face and their aspirations for the future. 

The forum also served as a platform for participants to discuss opportunities to build multi-sector partnerships aimed at strengthening the country’s youth-centered programs and policies.  

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to co-host this YouthMap learning event with the U.S. government,” said M. Kalidou Diallo, Senegal’s Minister of Education. “This assessment captures the perspectives and voices of youth around the country on key issues related to education, employment, health and citizenship.”

More than 560 young people and 110 public, private, civil society and donor organizations participated in the assessment earlier this year. Youth served as research assistants and active participants and provided recommendations on future youth programming. “We are grateful to the young people who generously shared their time and insights, as well as the many representatives of government ministries, donor agencies, civil society organizations, and public sector firms who made this report possible,” noted IYF’s President and CEO Bill Reese. “This is the kind of information that we need to ensure Senegal’s young people have the chance to realize their full potential and contribute to this country’s growth and prosperity in the years ahead.”

Senegal, like much of Sub-Saharan Africa, is experiencing rapid population growth and a significant “youth bulge.” It is estimated that nearly a quarter of the population in Senegal is between the ages of 15 to 24, and is expected to increase by almost 25 percent by 2020.   As they make the transition from adolescence to adulthood, youth face issues such as staying in school, getting a job, adopting healthy life styles, raising a family, and exercising their rights of citizenship.