Potou is located in the Niayes zone of Senegal, bordering the maritime fringe of the north. The zone (a 5 to 10km strip along the shoreline) is a densely populated area (more than 20% of the country’s population live on less than 1% of the territory). Residents live off small-scale fishing as well as agriculture and livestock production.
The Niayes is a fragile area under tremendous strain. The use of chemicals and organic fertilizers has negative effects on the environment, especially the groundwater, and public health. Inadequate management of household refuse and industrial waste products poses important problems and exposes the population to medical risks. The most significant climate change hazards are shifting fixed and newly-formed dunes, soil salinity and sand bar formation in lowland soils, salinity of wells, coastal erosion and marine invasion. Food insecurity is prevalent in the area: 20% of children under five are malnourished. The nearest health center is 7 km away from Potou, and accessing it is a challenge for the villagers, with barely visible and inadequate roads covered by sandy dunes.
- The community is now cultivating several high-value crops including three varieties of improved onion, two of cabbage, two of watermelon and one of hibiscus.
- Leading dairy farmers have received training on milk hygiene and quality.Trained nurses have been posted in the newly-constructed clinics.
- More than 150 teachers have been provided with training on personal hygiene and sanitation education.
- A federation of 125 women’s business associations was set up to boost entrepreneurship.