ActionAid works with poor people in over 40 countries across the world. Our goal? To end poverty. We believe in doing things differently. We know that with the right opportunities, poor people will find their own solutions - and build new lives.
The smallest country on the African continent, The Gambia has enjoyed a largely stable, peaceful history since we became independent. With its glorious beaches, stunning scenery and exotic wildlife, it’s a popular tourist destination.
But for most of our 1.8 million people, the luxury holiday resorts belong to another world. Unemployment is high, and about a third of Gambians live below the poverty line, scraping by on less than US$1.25 a day.
Three-quarters of the population depend on agriculture to get by, but suitable farmland is limited. Drought is becoming more common too – rainfall here has dropped by 30% in 30 years.
ActionAid in The Gambia
ActionAid has been working in The Gambia since 1979. We focus on the rights and needs of the poorest people, including health, education, clean water and a decent living.
The Gambia doesn’t have enough doctors or medical facilities, so we train local people to give medical help. We also provide training, equipment and funding for mobile health teams.
Some of the poorest children don’t get a chance to go to school because they need to help their families on the farm or around the house. We provide flexible classes to fit in around their work.
We train teachers and provide equipment for primary schools. Importantly, we make sure local communities are involved in decisions around the national education system. We also run a literacy programme, Reflect, for adults.
We train families to improve their farming techniques and find new opportunities for earning an income. We also give people a chance to start their own businesses by supporting schemes that provide affordable loans.
Let us start by letting women own land wherever they are in this country and they will feed this nation. Without that we will surely continue to be hungry.
Aja Isatou Fayinkeh supports her seven children by farming, but like most women in The Gambia she doesn’t own any land. When the landowner evicted her, she lost her means of making a living and feeding her family. We’re supporting the right of women like Aja to own land.
The Gambia at a glance
- Population: 1.8 million
- GDP per person: US$5,200
- Life expectancy: 61 men /66 women
- Adult literacy: 48% men/ 33% women