A baby at a health centre in Touba Seras, Senegal.

What does hunger mean to you?

That’s the question we asked a community near Louga in Senegal as part of our new, innovative participatory photography project. We gave them cameras and encouraged them to share their experiences through their own eyes and thoughts.

We’re seeing levels of hunger on a scale never seen before. We wanted to document this through the voices of a community we work with in Senegal, so we organised a participatory photography project, thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Each community member shown in the portraits was given the chance to paint a picture of what hunger means to them. The stories told are from a community that has never had the chance to tell their story before.

Where droughts ruin farmland. Where the closure of the town’s only trainline means there are fewer job opportunities. And where mothers give birth to malnourished children without the family planning or awareness around nutrition to allow them to thrive.

The photo exhibition in Touba Seras, Senegal.

The accounts also show a community supporting each other and finding solutions to the challenges they face. This includes female healthcare workers who spot the signs of malnutrition before it’s too late, women’s cooperatives preparing nutritious cereal products, and grandmothers supporting entire families.

The village that harvests rubbish

The project took place in a village called Touba Séras. It’s a small community of around 4,000 people located on the outskirts of Louga, a cattle market centre in northwestern Senegal. Established as an informal settlement in the 1990s, it’s now a recognised village with schools and a health centre at its very heart.

The climate in Touba Séras is unforgiving. Rains are few and far between and becoming increasingly unreliable. The heat is oppressive and the winds are dry. The soil is little more than sand and dust, and very little grows except for the poisonous Apple of Sodom.

There’s no grass for livestock to graze, so people must buy straw to feed their horses and goats. Growing cereals or vegetables is virtually impossible, and the few lemon and mango trees that grow among the houses don’t produce much.

Instead of farming crops on the land surrounding the village, the community harvests metal and plastic from an ever-growing field of rubbish dumped by the authorities from nearby Louga town.

An ocean of rubbish covers the landscape, lapping up against walls of the Islamic primary school and the small houses that sit along the community’s outskirts. Women and children forage for recyclable materials among the disease-ridden waste, which they sell to buy food.

Meet the local community


Die Niang, a community health worker from Touba Seras.

39-year-old Dié is a community health worker at Touba Séras’s health centre. She helps the head nurse to assess children for malnutrition, takes part in vaccination campaigns and raises awareness about the dangers of malnutrition in the community. She also earns an income by selling cosmetics.

Her story of hunger is told from the perspective of being a grandma. She documents what hunger means to people through generations.


Aissatou, a community health worker from Touba Seras, Senegal.

33-year-old Aissatou sells medicine at the health centre. She’s also a community health volunteer, helping children to gain weight, screening children for malnutrition and helping families to treat malnourished children through cookery demonstrations.  

She tells us her story of hunger through her experience of working in the health centre. She shares the story of a patient, Kadhy, who she has treated. This story zooms in on the link between malnutrition and other diseases. 

Mama Fall

Mama Fall, the executive secretary at Touba Seras health centre in Senegal.

52-year-old Mama is the executive secretary at the Touba Séras health centre. He helps with administration and financial management in the community. He’s also a PE and sports teacher. 

His story of hunger gives us an interesting insight on how malnutrition has increased along with migration.   


Mame, a community health worker in Touba Seras, Senegal.

44-year-old Mame trains people in how to grow cereals and raise poultry so they can make a living. In her role as a community health volunteer at the health centre in Touba Séras, she calls for the protection of children’s rights and helps children whose parents experience mental health issues.  

PartnerIn partnership with the People's Postcode Lottery

Thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery who made this project possible.

Read more about our partners
Action Against Hunger Ethiopia helped Munira recover from life-threatening malnutrition.

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