The Gambia, Africa

Life expectancy in the Gambia is only 56 years and there is a high infant mortality rate at 112 per 1,000 live births. Located by the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding the Gambia River, the Gambia faces frequent flooding. In 2010, many homes were destroyed and thousands left homeless. Crops were also ruined, compounding the impact on people’s lives. Major public health issues are caused by infectious diseases including diarrhoea and malaria. In rural or semi-rural areas, more than 60% of the population are classified as poor. 29% of the population of the Gambia is undernourished and about 1 in 5 children are born underweight.

Children in Gambia

About a quarter of Gambian children are involved in some form of child labour. For children who work, education is often missed.

Only 67% of primary school-aged children in the  Gambia are enrolled in primary school.

HIV/AIDS rates are low compared to other African countries. However, there are some areas where it is still persistent and mainly affects women. Girls, some forced into early marriage and sexual activity, account for the highest share of HIV infections.

Our Children's Villages in Gambia


Basse receives a very high number of immigrants from Senegal and surrounding countries, who come to the Gambia hoping to make money to send back home. The area suffers from very high unemployment rates, and most people make a living from subsistence farming, making them vulnerable to crop failure. The Village opened in 2007 and there are 12 family homes at the Village.


We started our work in the Gambia in 1981 with a community in Bakoteh, a short distance from the town of Serrakunda. The 10 family houses.

Family Strengthening Programmes

A shortage of medical facilities in the area led to the establishment of an SOS Mother and Child Clinic in 1997, which provides medical care and counselling especially for pregnant women and mothers with small children. An ambulance is available to transport emergency cases. The clinic is one of Gambia’s most important medical facilities providing services and assistance to around 10,000 people in the locality each year.

There is also a Family Strengthening Programme in Bakoteh which supports over 300 community children and their families with food, healthcare, education costs, and provides income-generating opportunities for caregivers. This programme helps to prevent child abandonment.

Local contact

SOS Children’s Villages the Gambia

Hermann Gmeiner Drive Highway
P.O. Box 3269

Tel: +220/446 67 14, +220/446 67 15, +220/446 67 17

Fax: +220/446 67 16


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