Sponsor a Child in The Gambia
- ChildFund came to The Gambia: 1984
- Population below poverty line: 57% in urban areas, 63% in rural areas
- News about The Gambia
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- Innovation Brings Water to a Community in The Gambia Read More
- Youth Sets Goals for Her Future Read More
- Youth in The Gambia Discover Voices in Their Communities Read More
Tourism and Limited Agriculture
Bordered by Senegal and the North Atlantic Ocean, The Gambia is one of Africa’s smallest countries and a popular tourist destination with resorts dotting the Atlantic Coast. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965, has little natural resources and relies heavily upon its peanut exports and tourism. The scarcity of potable water, the prevalence of preventable diseases and the lack of early childhood education make life grim for children in The Gambia and their families.
Clean Water Is Only the Beginning
Sibanor, the main village in Foni Bintang Karanai District in The Gambia, has a population of more than 4,000, but no clean water that is easily accessible to the people. Abbas, who is a teenager, said of the water in his community, “This water is containing so many diseases. It is harmful for the children who play in stagnant water because of malaria. In rainy season, most of the children get malaria because of mosquitoes.”
“This water is containing so many diseases. It is harmful for the children who play in stagnant water because of malaria. In rainy season, most of the children get malaria because of mosquitoes.”
To combat that, community members for many years relied upon three hand pumps to produce safe drinking water for this village and its surrounding villages. From as early as 6 a.m. until as late as 10 p.m., the village’s women waited in line for the wells to refill.
But now a water filtration system, called the Water Pyramid, provides these villages with up to 5,000 liters of clean water per day, plenty of water to serve them all. Ding Ding Bantaba Child and Family Support Association and ChildFund Gambia succeeded in getting the water project grant funded by World Bank through a Dutch organization.
Here’s how it works: During the rainy season, the outside of the pyramid is used to collect rainwater, which is filtered, purified and stored in a large ground tank. And during the dry season, which lasts from November to May, solar distillation turns even polluted water into clean and distilled drinking water. As a result, this system can supply these villages with clean water year round.
Sibanor is just one case of how we have made water and sanitation accessible to the people of The Gambia. Throughout our program areas, we have supplied safe drinking water to more than 79 percent of the families as well as helped many of these families construct basic sanitary facilities to reduce the spread of communicable diseases.
Cerebral malaria, one of the most severe forms of the disease, accounts for 30 percent of deaths of children under five in The Gambia. Thanks to our bed net program and the medicine we have distributed, child deaths have decreased by 40 percent.
To ensure that children are properly nourished, we conduct mandatory health education programs for parents and require follow-up visits to regularly monitor their children’s growth. To date, more than 70 percent of the enrolled families have learned about nutrition from educational films and programs.
Education for a Brighter Future
It’s important that children’s learning begins in early childhood. To increase education enrollment of children under five, we added 25 new Early Childhood Care and Development Centers in the western region of the country and also trained facilitators and provided teaching and learning materials for these centers. These facilities not only offer learning activities and nutritious meals to young children, but they also give families valuable guidance on caring for their children at home.
We also are involved in making education available to school-age children, starting with the construction of 22 schools under the World Bank Classroom Project in collaboration with the Department of Education. This venture includes distributing scholastic materials as well as furnishing desks and other necessities to classrooms. Our tuition assistance helps make education a possibility for many of The Gambia’s children.
While The Gambia has few natural resources, we are helping the people build a strong base of resources to support their survival. Help us give the people of this country a reason to look forward to tomorrow. Won’t you sponsor a child in The Gambia?
With the reliance on one crop in an unreliable global economy, Gambians need more than peanut farms from which to generate an income. To provide families with new ways to generate income, we provide training in the management of animal husbandry, primary health care and crop management. And families are encouraged to become involved with credit unions and village savings and credit associations to maintain small businesses and enhance their livelihoods.