AIDE GANDIOLE / SENEGAL is a charity organisation whose aim is the longterm improvement of living conditions for the citizens of Gandiole, Senegal. Gandiole is both a village comprising the communities of Tassinère, Pilote and Njeben and also a region. As a region Gandiole comprises more than 30 villages with an estimated population of around 20.000 or more inhabitants. The nearest city, St. Louis, is situated upstream the same river and is roughly 20 kilometers north of Gandiole.


Location of Senegal in Africa

Area of Gandiole

Within the village of Gandiole itself, there is no medical doctor or dentist (although there is a small medical station housing a midwife and nurse), no post office, no police station, no industry, and virtually no workshops of artisans of any kind.

Aerial View of part of Gandiole and the Senegal River as it meets the Atlantic Ocean

Gandiole daily market

Traditionally, the people of Gandiole make their living by fishing in the Senegal River and in the adjacent Atlantic Ocean. Due to moving sandbanks and strong currents, however, it is very dangerous to maneuver their boats from the river into the ocean, where they catch the most fish. Each year, some fishermen lose their lives – and those that survive, their pirogues – at the estuary of the river and ocean. As the Atlantic Ocean in the north of Senegal frequently turns violent, without warning or transition, many of the fishermen also lose their nets in the high waves. As a result of these recurring difficulties, many of the villageʼs fishermen move, for many months at a time, to the south of the country where they find milder ocean waters. Almost without exception, they must leave their wives and children behind so that they can focus on making a living for their families.

Elder Gandiolese Fisherman on his way to fishing grounds

Elder Gandiolese Fisherman gathering up his nets

The water of the Senegal River is brackish throughout the year as the tides of the Atlantic Ocean continually press and flood salt water into the river. To this end, the ground water in the region is also salty, as is the soil close to the river. There is barely any rainfall, except for three or four times a year, usually in the intense heat of August and September. Due to the lack of fresh water, as well as the sandy and salty soil of the Sahel, agriculture is very difficult and, often times, nearly impossible in this particular region, and there is also very little commerce. Typically, the women of the village seasonally collect the salt from the scatter of lakes that well up from the salty ground water and dry up in the intense sunshine of late Spring. Bringing food to the table is a daily challenge for the population of Gandiole.

Gandiole village women collecting salt