The SEM Fund is a nonprofit organization registered in both the US and in Senegal dedicated to combating poverty and environmental degradation. SEM works throughout Senegal with international and local partners to promote sustainable development opportunities. These opportunities are evaluated by their ability to continue for a long time without generating unmanageable crisis or degradation.
SEM’s objective is to help break the cycle of poverty afflicting the people of Senegal. SEM works to combat the “poverty tax”, the phenomenon whereby the poorest pay the most for basic services that are also proven to cause significant health problems and environmental degradation. Such basic services include cooking fuel, transport, communications, lighting and financial services. SEM believes that the best way to combat poverty, while at the same time creating welcome health and environmental benefits, is to eliminate the poverty tax.
Since 2004, SEM’s microfinance program has provided training and affordable loans to rural villagers with the purpose of supporting sustainable business initiatives. Since 2009, SEM’s Environment program has been developing targeted programs and innovative financing solutions to address climate change, focusing on the provision of locally appropriate, renewable energy technologies at the household level.