The Gambia is a small country in western Africa. It borders the Atlantic Ocean but is otherwise surrounded by its neighbouring country Senegal.
With a population of around 2.4 million, it is one of the smallest, yet most densely populated countries in Africa.
More than half of the population lives in cities and surrounding regions. The economy is dominated by agriculture.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it in The Gambia since 1982.
In recent years, the level of poverty in The Gambia has remained unchanged or even worsened. Reasons for that are crises like the 2015 Ebola outbreak or climate change related extreme weather occurrences such as drought and floods.
48% of the population lives in poverty. These high levels of poverty mean inadequate access to basic health and educational services and hinder children from reaching their full potential.
Many people in The Gambia are still holding on to traditional beliefs. Many believe that corporal punishment against children is acceptable. As a result 89% of children experience physical violence.
Physical discipline at home is the most common form of violence against children. This can be especially harmful at a young age, because there is an increased risk for physical injuries and emotional harm. Children are unable to understand the motivation behind the act or adopt coping strategies.
Food insecurity has risen over the past five years due to weak food production systems and an increase in droughts and flooding.
Around 10% of children suffer from acute malnutrition while around 23% suffer from impaired growth and development and are too small for their age.
The Gambia produces only 50% of the food it needs and heavily depends on food imports.