Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Senegal

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Projects Abroad has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

Volunteer at an orphanage in Senegal with Projects Abroad
Volunteer at an orphanage in Senegal with Projects Abroad
Volunteer abroad in Senegal this year with Projects Abroad
Volunteer abroad in Senegal this year with Projects Abroad
Coach sports in Senegal with Projects Abroad
Coach sports in Senegal with Projects Abroad
Music & Culture projects in Senegal with Projects Abroad
Music & Culture projects in Senegal with Projects Abroad
Law & Human Rights Internships in Senegal with Projects Abroad
Law & Human Rights Internships in Senegal with Projects Abroad

About

Senegal is a wonderful place to spend time volunteering abroad with Projects Abroad. Our volunteers work with disadvantaged children in kindergartens, care centers, and organizations for street children. Despite Senegal being one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa, there is widespread unemployment with over half of the population living below the poverty line. This, among other issues such as HIV/AIDS, has left many of Senegal's children on the streets, sometimes with no family members to care for them. We hope you will join us and help make Senegal a better place!

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Popular Programs

Volunteering with Children in Senegal

Travel to West Africa and become part of our ongoing efforts to support disadvantaged children.

French Language Course in Senegal

Improve your French skills in Senegal through an immersive language course and overseas experience.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9 Rating
based on 17 reviews
  • Impact 8.5
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 8 of 17
Default avatar
Luzian
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Little Money for the Talibé

Make yourselfes no illusions, the money you pay ProjectsAbroad is not really going to the cause. In the center in Saint Louis (Sénégal) the budget per week is 100'000 CFA. That is about 100 USD. I ALONE PAYED WAY MORE THEN THAT PER WEEK. The head of the local team drives an expensive Audi, that is something almost no one can afford there.
There is no structure in the teaching program. No books and no perminent teachers. There is not much for the kids that come there and are motivated to learn to profit from.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I went with a friend I made in Saint Louis to the annual pilgrimage to Touba. That was amazing, we traveled there on top of a bus and I slept with 30 people on a roof. All houses are open and offer accommodation and food to the pilgrims. The people are so nice and hospitable, it's was almost unbelievable for me as a European.
(That was not organised by ProjectsAbroad)
Response from Projects Abroad

Hello Luzian.

Thank you for taking the time to leave your review.

We take all feedback very seriously. A member of our team will be in touch with you as soon as possible to discuss the points you have made.

With the additional detail, we will be able to investigate further and take the appropriate action.

Best,

George.

Default avatar
Emma
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Senegal 2019

This is my 5th project with Projects Abroad and definitely my favourite. Senegal is the most welcoming country and everything about the project was enjoyable - from meeting the children at the centre we were volunteering to picking up litter off the beach and driving over the dunes of the desert. We all enjoyed it so much we all want to return. We made great memories, friends and the volunteering was really worthwhile and enjoyable. Senegal has amazing food, scenery, people and culture - there is a lot to see and do. We were lucky to stay in an amazing and comfortable guest house with friendly owners who provided everything we needed. The staff at Projects Abroad were brilliant; they couldn't do enough for us and made sure we had everything we needed and helped us with any questions we had. They showed us all the highlights in Saint-Louis and took us on an amazing weekend trip to the Lompoul Desert. Can't wait to go back.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Being out in the desert and going on a dune adventure in a big desert truck!
Response from Projects Abroad

HI Emma,
First of all, thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. We really value your feedback. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed your time away with us on the Care project in Senegal – you are welcome back anytime!

Moctar Ba, Country Director for Senegal

Default avatar
Isaiah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Senegal Microfinance

I learned so much working with Projects Abroad. They make you feel like home even if youre miles from it. The host family I stayed with has impacted my life. I still talk to them on WhatsAPP.
Everyday, my job required the writing of business plans on excel as well as interveiws and conducting presentations. At the end of my short, month-long trip, I was still able to grasp all the business and social skills that I learned at it stil impacts me today.
If youre worried about being sick, dont worry. Pharamacies and doctors are easy to find and medications almost never cost over 10 euros.
Over all, I enjoyed my experience. I met so many good friends from Senegal and abroad that I still keep in touch with today.
Volunteering with Projects abroad, I learned a myriad of life skills and I do not regret it. Please consider joining!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try not to get strep and not touch any of the cats even if theyre friendly
Response from Projects Abroad

Hello Isaiah,
It sounds like you’ve had a fantastic time away on our Micro-Finance project in Senegal. The effort that you put into the project was admirable; you are truly appreciated by the local community and Projects Abroad. We’ll see you soon on another project or Internship!

Moctar Ba, Country Director for Senegal

Default avatar
Selina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in St. Louis (Senegal)

I spend four month in St.Louis, northern Senegal, teaching English and some French to motivated students!

During my time in St. Louis I lived with a nice host family with lots of children who welcomed me warmly into their family and showed my the authentic senegalese family life.

I worked at a center for the Talibé (kornic students who live under tremendous circumstances begging for food, wearing the same clothes everyday and sleeping next to dozens of other children on the floor in cold and dirty rooms.).
In our center we played with the younger ones and taught them some basic French. We gave them the possibility to shower, brush their teeth and in our small infirmary we treated their wounds. (Sometimes they get hit by their kornic teachers or they hurt themselves by playing on the rocky streets since they don't usually have any shoes to wear). Whenever the money allowed it we bought shoes and clothes for the children and at least once a week we cooked a meal for everyone!
I mostly worked with the older students (17 and older) who came and wanted to learn English or French. Most of them only speak their local languages and maybe a little French or Arabic since they only learn the koran (not Arabic in general but they learn the corn by heart). It was a great experience for me to improve my teaching skills and I had to get very creative with some of my student since we didn't speak a common language. As soon as I started finding solutions and ways to teach them it was the greatest feeling to see them making progress. They were always super friendly, grateful and patient not once complaining about my way of teaching.

The local staff was very friendly, helpful and open-minded! Every Friday we would meet with a staff member and all the volunteers and go to concerts, bars or just go dancing. It was a great way of getting to know both the staff members and the other volunteers.
Everything regarding my trip was well organized and I always had someone to contact in case of an emergency.

I'm soooo glad I went to St. Louis and made all these interesting, instructive experiences and meet all these amazing, kind and happy people who showed and taught more new things about life than I have learnt during my last five years in Switzerland!

PS: Don't worry if your French isn't perfect neither is mine and they are very patient and nice if you're still learning. Just be aware that most people don't speak English so whereas you don't need to be very good at French you should know some basics to be able to communicate with the host family and the other locals.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Please, please, please be prepared for a different world! Senegal really is fundamentally different from any European country I've ever been to. Be aware of the fact that you might not have warm water or wifi at your host family. Also know that their food is delicious but they use a lot of oil so don't go there trying to lose weight or something. Also know that Senegal is a mostly muslim country so especially in the north you will find people praying on the streets, girls wearing headscarfs and the muezzin might wake you up once or twice ;)
However this are NOT AT ALL bad things! It's just a different way of living and if you aren't ready to learn new things, adapt yourself and see beauty and positivity in foreign and for you maybe strange things I really wouldn't recommend you to visit Senegal since you might be shocked at almost everything you see!
If however you are an open-minded person who's interested in getting to know new ways of life, cultures and morals I'm convinced that you will love Senegal! It's a very nice country with friendly people, not once did I feel unsafe.

I hope my review helped you with making your own decision about going to Senegal or not!
Response from Projects Abroad

Hey Selina,

Thank you so much for leaving a review and your advice, I loved reading it!

I am so glad you had a great time, I can imagine how quick those 4 months went!

The local students would have loved having you and learning from you. Also, that is so good that you managed to improve your teaching and innovation skills, then see results - by the sounds of it, you are a natural!

Well, it certainly sounds like you have had an amazing 4 months immersing yourself in the culture and making a real difference, I am sure St Louis is not the same without you!

Should you ever want to come again or try your teaching and innovation skills elsewhere, let me know - we would love to help!

All the best,

Caleb
Projects Abroad - Community Manager

Default avatar
Kwynn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Center Review

I ended up choosing Projects Abroad to fulfill my study abroad requirement (French major). The flexibility of their program helped me fit the three week minimum requirement into the term between fall/spring semesters.

Full disclosure: I’m timid and socially anxious, but I really felt safe in Senegal because of Projects Abroad. I knew enough French to get by, but I’d recommend future volunteers really brush up on it and use the Wolof tools available. I knew what I was getting into by volunteering in Senegal (ie that it’s not a vacation and it’s hard work) but I thoroughly enjoyed doing what I could with the limited time I was there.

Saint-Louis is beautiful. It’s easily walkable, and I never felt unsafe walking through the market (even as a single woman in her early twenties). Men did make sexual comments but it wasn’t anything more serious than the catcalls I get in America and, frankly, the encounters were never violent/threatening.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go out. Try things. Also, if you pack too much going there, it’s incredibly easy (and appreciated) to leave your health supplies there.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Kelly, thanks so much for leaving a review! It is so great to read about what a wonderful experience you had in Senegal! It was especially fun to read about how much the local children enjoyed braiding your hair.
I think your advise on being patient with teaching is spot on! It can be challenging going into a new classroom and meeting a whole new group of kids, but it seems like you walked away learning just as much as you taught the local children!
As you are studying French, maybe check out our programs in Madagascar for next time!
Best,

Jack

Jack Marcus
Projects Abroad- Project Expert USA

Sophia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Care project in Senegal

I visited Senegal for 5 weeks last summer to volunteer with a Care project. I chose this project because I wanted hands-on exposure to the medical field that I would not get in my hone country. The Projects Abroad staff were helpful in providing advice on which destination and project to choose, and they also booked my flights to Dakar for me. When I arrived a staff member picked me up from the airport and I met my host family that night. The house was beautiful, and my host parents and sister were so kind and very patient with my awful French.

My placement was only a five-minute walk from my house, and usually my work involved taking care of the kids with injuries. This ranged from basic wound cleaning and bandaging, to consulting the nurse in charge of the center on ore complicated cases (once, I even watched a finger amputation!). I really enjoyed this work and it constantly amazed me how resilient the children were.

Projects Abroad staff were supportive throughout my time in Senegal. They met one-on-one with volunteers and to make sure everything was going okay with the host families and that volunteers were happy with their program choice. Volunteers were able to switch projects if they wanted to. Overall, I would recommend this program for anyone who wants a real change from their home country and has at least a basic speaking level of French.

Default avatar
Anna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Two months in Senegal

I went to St. Louis, Senegal for two months to teach english at a local elementary school. After a week, I found that teaching at the school was not the right fit for me. Thankfully, the lovely staff members at Projects-Abroad were very helpful, and were able to help me change my project after just a day. I switched from doing the teaching project to the care project, where I worked at a care center for the local street children and children of the neighborhood. I was able to continue teaching english and had the chance to teach kids how to read as well. It was a much more enjoyable experience and I felt as if I was really making an real impact on their lives. I also helped with the health aspect at the care center which hard for me in the beginning but I began to really enjoy it towards the end. My host family was amazing, it was a very large, well to do family. Everyone was family there, the maid, the various first cousins and second cousins etc.., the friends of the family, and even the volunteers. They made sure we were comfortable and felt welcomed and that was incredible. Overall, Senegal was an amazing experience and I had a fabulous, safe, and interesting time.

Default avatar
T
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful Senegal

I arrived in Senegal a sixteen year old high school student with some French fluency and a lot of jet-lag. I don't think I really knew what I was getting myself into, but once I got outside of the airport and met the Projects Abroad representative who would take me from Dakar to St.-Louis, I was over my initial fear.

After spending less than a day with my host family, their one-story cinder-block house felt like home. My host family welcomed me with open arms, and soon I was spending the evenings drawing pictures and doing basic ballet with the kids.

My placement was wonderful. The 'initiation' on the first morning (given in both French and English) helped us arriving volunteers find our way around downtown, including where to change our money, go for a swim, or even buy Nutella if we got really homesick. That afternoon, I began my volunteer work, renovations on a small daara (a school room and dormitory for the Talibé religious students). I worked with around 20 other high schoolers from France, Britain, and Canada, and we came to be good friends over our two week stay.

In the mornings, I had French lessons with a Senegalese French teacher- there was only one other girl in my class, and we learned so much.

The weekend excursion in the middle of my two-week stay was a trip to the desert, where I got very sunburned, went on a camel ride, and had a great time (despite the midnight rainstorm.)

Overall, my experience in Senegal was amazing and unforgettable. I left with a much better understanding of real life in developing nations- its complexities, its problems, its joys, and especially the deep commonalities people share across the world. As soon as I got home, I made my parents promise that I would be allowed to go back (hopefully for a month!) I can't wait.