Although this country has enjoyed long spells of stability since its independence in 1965, the weak economy and vulnerability to external shocks still affect the wellbeing of young people.
The Gambia remains one of the world’s poorest countries.Its flourishing tourist industry is an important source of income for the country, however underprivileged young people are at risk of commercial and sexual exploitation. Moreover, the country suffers from regular outbreaks of cholera and meningitis. The maternal death rate is currently among the highest in the world. Malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, malnutrition and neonatal problems claim the most lives. Even though the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is relatively low compared to sub-Saharan Africa, high levels of sexually transmitted infections in the country could fuel an HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Working in partnership with the Gambia YMCA since the 1990s, we supported young people with reproductive health, drugs and alcohol awareness, and since 2001 we focused on youth livelihood interventions funded by Comic Relief and the Big Lottery Fund.