Salesians Empowering Youths in Senegal through Training in Agroecology

Some of the beneficiaries of agroecology training offered by Salesians in Senegal. Credit: Agenzia Info Salesiana (ANS)

Members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) serving in Senegal are empowering young people in the West African nation with skills in agroecology, officials have reported.

Launched by Spain-based Salesian non-governmental organization, Bosco Global, the project dubbed, “Cultivating the skills of young people: Formation in agroecology in Tambacounda (Senegal)” is expected to have an estimated 50 people gain skills in agroecology, a Monday, April 12 report obtained by ACI Africa indicates.

The beneficiaries of the project, which is being realized through a partnership with the Spain-based Menorcan Fund for International Cooperation, include 10 students of Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Senegal’s Catholic Diocese of Tambacounda and their respective families.

The youth and their respective families “are learning about organic farming techniques, soil enrichment and water optimization,” SDB officials say in the April 12 report, and add, “The students have been assigned rural plots, and some of them have already started working.”

“The project will help curb desertification and enrich the soil that is now depleted due to a lack of nutrients and water, as well as climate change, which is shortening the rainy season,” they note in the report published by Mission Newswire, the information service of SDB.


The Salesians express optimism that the project will offer some food security to the beneficiaries of the 16.3-million-population country where “Crop failures due to extreme weather have impacted the economy, and a recent ban on street beggars has taken the only source of income away from many families.”

“Thanks to this project, some of the students are already thinking about setting up a business to market their crops. At the end of the agroecology training, students will also be offered a course on how to obtain microcredit,” Salesians in Senegal say in the report.

According to the leadership of the 162-year-old Religious Institute, “Nearly 40 percent of youth leaving the country are doing so in search of better educational opportunities.”

“With that knowledge, project activities are now being targeted to provide scholarships and educational initiatives to help youth gain employment in their communities,” SDB officials note in the report titled, “Senegal: Youth learn organic farming techniques through new project.”

In the April 12 report, Fr. Gus Baek, the Director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of SDB, hails the agroecology project saying, “Providing education to help youth cultivate the land helps to make their farms more productive and show that farming can be a reliable source of income.”

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“(Salesian) Missionaries provide education and workforce development paired with other social services to help poor youth break the cycle of poverty and have hope for the future,” Fr. Baek, whose entity solicits funds for development projects in Africa, has been quoted as saying in the April 12 report.