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  • Population: 

    • 16.29 million 

    • 60% of the population is under 25

  • Major languages:

    • French (official)

    • Wolof

    • Pulaar

    • Jola

    • Mandinka

  • Major religion:

    • Islam 

  • Currency:

    • CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc 

Senegal is situated in West Africa, surrounded by The Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Guinnea Bissau, Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is hot and dry for most of the year, with a rainy season between June and October. Traditional cuisine and tea-making are an important part of life in Senegal, the national dish is Thieboujienne – which means quite literally rice and fish.

Despite being one of the most politically stable countries in West Africa, the UN Human Development Index classifies Senegal in the low human development category. In 2017 average life expectancy was 68, the average years of schooling stood at 3 and over 50% of the population were classified as suffering deprivation in health, education and standard of living. Poverty and food insecurity are particularly prevalent in rural areas.

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Senegal is a very ethnically diverse country with many cultures and languages.  Predominant ethnicities around the edge of Niokolo Koba National Park are Mandinka, Peul, Basari, Kongnagi and Bedik. Within these remote rural communities there is no mains electricity and no running water, and the majority of people live on less than $2/day as subsistence farmers and pastoralists. These traditional livelihoods are particularly vulnerable to climate change, and increasingly harsh conditions are pushing people into ever more unsustainable practices such as overgrazing, bush fires, deforestation and poaching.

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Niokolo-Koba National Park (PNNK)

Niokolo Network’s activities are focused within and around Niokolo-Koba National Park in southeast Senegal. The National Park covers an area of over 913,000ha (half the size of Wales), with four major waterways, gallery forests, savannah floodplains, bamboo forests, ponds, dry forests, rocky slopes and hills and barren bowés. These diverse habitats support over 70 species of mammal, 329 species of bird, 36 species of reptile and 20 species of amphibian, including some of the last remaining populations of chimpanzees, wild dogs and lions in West Africa.

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