The Gambia

  • 42%
    Adult literacy rate*
  • 174 out of 189
    Human Development Index ranking*
  • 10.1%
    People living on less than $1.90 per day*

Country context

The Gambia is Africa’s smallest nonisland country. It is also one of Africa’s most densely populated countries.

The Gambia is emerging from 20 years of a dictatorial regime under President Jammeh. The country has suffered economic mismanagement, political violence and human rights abuses. Today, 60% of Gambians live in absolute poverty and life expectancy is only 58 fo rmen and 60  for women.,

Why we work in The Gambia

Gambia’s national library service was badly neglected during President Jammeh’s rule. Public libraries across the countries have few books, school libraries are vanishingly rare and the vast majority of people cannot afford to buy books. This means that the average Gambian has no access to books.

English is the official langage in The Gambia, and access to books will help an entire generation learn to read and write, succeed in their educations and reach their full potential.

What we do in The Gambia

In 2018, we sent 39,514 brand new books to The Gambia. This includes children’s books, novels, and inspiring non-fiction for adults, medical texts, curriculum-support books, higher education texts and a range of other books selected to support Gambians who wish to discover new ideas and expand their horizons.

The Gambia National Library Service Authority is distributing over 30,000 of these to its public libraries across the country plus schools, community libraries and tertiary education institutions.

The remaining 9,177 books are being used by NGOs in Ghana including Switched on Gambia, a small NGO that supports children attending some of the world’s most poorly resourced schools.


*UN Human Development Index 2019

The Gambia 2019: Our work in numbers


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