The Gambia | ActionAid UK

The Gambia

We’ve been helping communities in The Gambia since 1979. In 2013 we worked with over 350,000 people, helping women earn enough money to feed their families, protect their rights and improve their children’s chances at school.

Why we work in The Gambia

The Gambia is the smallest country on the African continent. Its beautiful Atlantic coastline attracts thousands of tourists each year, but it is still one of the poorest countries in the world.

Three quarters of the population earns a living through farming. The rise in droughts and flash floods makes it difficult to grow crops, meaning people often go hungry.

  • 33
    33% of people live below the poverty line.
  • 17
    17% of children under the age of 5 are underweight
  • 36
    36% of girls are married by their 18th birthday.

There has been real progress with education in the last few years, with 97% of children now enrolled in primary school. But the quality of education is still poor, and children in rural areas, particularly girls, have poor attendance. Shockingly, nearly half of the adult population can’t read or write.

What we do in The Gambia

A key way we’re improving education is through supporting Mothers’ Clubs. We help them campaign for better quality teaching and attendance and plant school vegetable gardens that provide nutritious food for the children to help them get through the day.

Despite farming being the main source of income for Gambian women, the land is controlled by men. By helping women claim their rights to own land and offering them affordable small business loans we enable them to earn their own income. And we empower women to challenge violence, which is common in schools, homes and on the streets.

How we’re changing lives for good in The Gambia

Read stories of some of the women and children we’ve helped.


Photos: Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos/ActionAid