Large-scale campaign to identify and enrol children with disabilities in Senegal

Full Participation of Children with Disabilities in Education Programme (APPEHL)
Humanity & Inclusion Senegal
Country of Implementation
Subsaharan Africa
Casamance (Ziguinchor, Kolda, Sedhiou)
Start Year
First published

APPEHL follows a multilevel approach to make mainstream schools more inclusive. For children and parents, the programme includes awareness raising measures and training in dealing with impairments. For schools, learning materials are adapted and teachers are trained by teachers from the special education sector.

A colorful dressed woman is teaching sign language in front of a blackboard with drawings at the Teacher's training class.
Sign language training for parents and teachers

Solution details


Vieux Inssa SANE Website
“Thanks to training on deafness and sign language, I better understand the difficulties my son faces, and this has greatly improved my relationship with him!” Kardiatou, President, Pikine Parents of Children with Disabilities Association, and mother of Ameth

Humanity & Inclusion is an international development NGO based in France. In 2012, the country team in Senegal initiated the Promoting the Full Participation of Children with Disabilities in Education (APPEHL) programme, which works at multiple levels with individual children and families, with teachers and schools, and also in influencing policy regarding Inclusive Education. The programme, which is funded by public funding agencies, has trained over 2,000 teachers and supported 45 schools to be more inclusive.

Problems Targeted

For many children with disabilities in Senegal, mainstream schools are physically inaccessible, and their teachers do not receive the necessary training to support them.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

Programme staff work to identify primary schoolchildren with disabilities in rural and urban areas and refer them to health specialists. Identification of out-of-school children is done through awareness-raising campaigns run by local disabled peoples’ organizations, along with home visits. Staff work with the children and their families, and take on the management of the social, educational, and health needs of those children who require the most support. To date, more than 1,500 children have received assistance, for example, with glasses, assistive devices, and physiotherapy. In addition, 224 parents of deaf children have been trained in deafness and sign language. The APPEHL programme also offers Inclusive Education training sessions, which have been delivered to over 2,000 teachers. This training uses the existing expertise of teachers in the specialist school system so that their knowledge can be used to make the wider school system more inclusive. Furthermore, APPEHL works to improve the physical accessibility of schools and provides adapted learning materials for children with disabilities in mainstream schools.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

The project has been funded by the French Agency for Development since 2015, with co-funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg since 2018. This €500,000 funding provided for Inclusive Education projects in Senegal, runs until the end of 2021. The practice has been replicated by other NGOs and associations working in various regions of Senegal, done in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and its decentralized bodies. Future plans are to further extend the programme to all regions of the country.



A colorful dressed woman is teaching sign language in front of a blackboard with drawings at the Teacher's training class. Sign language training for parents and teachers



Life Story


“I am studying in a mainstream school, working with a school assistant trained in sign language.”

I am 13 years old and live near Dakar in Senegal. My parents and four of my six siblings are deaf, and I have been unable to hear since birth. Three years ago I was alone at home as I had to stop attending the only school in the area that offered literacy classes for deaf children. Now, with the help of Humanity & Inclusion, I am studying in a mainstream school. I have a school assistant trained in sign language who helps me in the classroom and with my homework. I love learning at school and was very proud to have completed my first year of school as the first in my class. I have just completed my third year (CE1) and am moving into CE2. When I grow up I want to graduate and go to work in the factory office where my father works as a handyman.

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