National flag of The Gambia
Map of The Gambia (click to enlarge)
Project location (click to enlarge)





The Gambia is located on the west coast of Africa. It hugs the Gambian River which runs into the Atlantic Ocean. It gained its independence from the UK in 1965 and formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The country undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002. Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH, the leader of the coup, has been elected president in all subsequent elections.

The total land area of The Gambia is 11,300 sq km; 10,000 sq km is land and 1,300 sq km is water. The population is about 1.5 million (June 2005) . The climate is tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May). Natural resourses include fish, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon, silica sand, clay, and petroleum. Aboaut 25% of the land is arable with permanent crops occupying 0.5% of the land. Ethnically, The Gambia is African 99%, (Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1%.


The Gambia has been primarily an agricultural country. Penyem Jamorai Relief Organization is focusing its attention on ten rural villages located In the Western Division, just south of the city of Brikama. The villages are Penyem, Manduar, Demba Njai Ya, Sidiya, Basori, Talokoto, Marakissa, Jalambantang, Busura, and Nanatto. Historically these settlements were established as a stepping stone to having Gambians take full control of their lives. Typically, each village has about 1000 inhabitants. Within each village there is great ethnic diversity--a clear indication that villagers cna think and work together to build a better community. This strong tradition of peacefulness and respect for each other was the reason why the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights was created in 1989 by a bill of The Gambian parliament with the vision "to promote in co-operation with other African and interantional institutions, the observance of human and peoples' rights and democratic principles throughtout Africa"