Save the Children Sweden started working in West Africa in 1977. Since 2002, the regional office is located in Dakar, Senegal, and we have a country programme in Cote d’Ivoire. In Côte d’Ivoire, we have five offices located in Abidjan, Bouaké, Korhogo, Abengourou and Bondoukou.
Save the Children Sweden supports more than 50 national non-governmental organizations and networks throughout West Africa. We have partners in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo.
Together with our partners, we focus our work on the fight against exploitation, violence and abuse; providing support to children living in communities affected by HIV and promoting sexual and reproductive health education; improving access to quality education for all children; protecting children in armed conflict and disasters; and strengthening civil society to fight for children’s rights.
In West Africa, several countries have recently emerged from armed conflicts and healing the scars of war will take time. Save the Children Sweden believes that peacekeepers and soldiers can help to promote and defend children’s rights, both in times of peace and conflict. In 2007, the military and police officers previously trained by Save the Children Sweden facilitated workshops for thousands of their own troops throughout the region.
Our partners in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali also assisted in training teachers to make education possible for all children, regardless of their sex, physical and mental conditions. Especially girls and children with disabilities are too often denied access to basic education. In a still volatile Côte d’Ivoire, the keys of 40 newly rehabilitated schools were handed over to local officials by Save the Children Sweden and 30,000 school kits distributed.