Right To Play in Senegal

Right To Play will begin offering programming in Senegal in 2022 in response to an identified need for youth empowerment programs in the country, especially those targeted toward girls.

To tackle the challenges facing young people in Senegal, Right To Play has developed the Renforcement des Capacités des filles par le Sport et le Jeu (RECAF-Jeu) program, which will use the power of sport and play to promote gender equality and the rights of adolescent girls and young women in the country. The program aims to empower girls to become changemakers in their lives and in their communities.

This innovative initiative, led by Right To Play and funded by the Canadian government through Global Affairs Canada, will work in multiple regions of Senegal to build the life skills of adolescent girls, address key human rights issues such as sexual and gender-based violence, and provide opportunities for girls and young women to participate in sport. The project will be implemented in partnership with the Liverpool Football Club Foundation.

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The challenges faced by girls in Senegal

Girls in Senegal face disproportionate obstacles to completing their education, building a career, and achieving their dreams. Early marriage and pregnancy, and the resulting social pressures, force girls out of school. Additionally, girls carry an unequal burden of household chores and familial duties, which makes keeping up with school work more challenging, and limits their options when it comes time to enter the workforce.

Harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) are still commonplace, and a serious risk to girls’ health and opportunities.

  • 23% of women and girls aged 15-49 have been subjected to FGM.
  • In 2015, almost two out of five girls in Senegal (38%) were already married by age 18.
  • 68% of women and girls aged 15-49 believe that spousal violence is justified for certain reasons such as burning food, disagreeing with the spouse, or refusing to have sex.

Eliminating the barriers and discrimination girls face requires community involvement. By engaging with parents, caregivers, community leaders and other stakeholders, and working directly with youth, Right To Play will strive to change attitudes and behaviours, and open up opportunities for girls in Senegal.


"There are too many girls in Senegal who simply don’t have the chance to achieve their dreams and potential just because they are girls. Our whole society loses when this inequality exists. We are committed to supporting them to claim their right to an education and a future, so they can change the story for girls. We are going to use sport and play as our tool.”
Michel Diatta, Head of Office, Right To Play Senegal


Using sport to promote gender equality

Right To Play uses sport for development to help children rise above adversity. Our programs create a safe space where children can engage and interact, break down complex social barriers, and promote inclusion and an acceptance of others. Play provides a platform for long-term personal development.

The RECAF-Jeu project will use sport and play as a form of experiential learning to help more than 10,000 Senegalese adolescents develop leadership, communication and self-esteem. The project will also support enhanced agency in girls and positive masculinity in boys, and engage with the wider communities to combat harmful traditional practices and negative social norms that impact both girls and boys.

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Through this project, we will reach 10,000 youth, 600 coaches, and 89,000 community members in the regions of Sédhiou and Ziguinchor with sport and play activities that will empower girls to claim their rights, encourage positive masculinity among boys, increase action by families and communities to support gender equality, and create accountability among key institutions to uphold the rights of girls and young women. We will also collaborate on a National Roadmap that will advance gender equality in and through sport.

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Right To Play gratefully acknowledges the support of all of its financial and technical partners. Funding for our programs in Senegal comes from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, and will be implemented in partnership with the Liverpool Football Club Foundation.

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