The Gambia is a very narrow, very densely populated strip of land almost totally surrounded by Senegal. Aside from a flaring of tensions with neighbouring Senegal over a military coup that overthrew the president in 1994, it is fortunate to have experienced long periods of peace.
The peacefulness of the Gambia has unfortunately not translated into prosperity. 75% of its population depend on subsistence farming to survive, and 60% live on less than 55p a day. Many people are illiterate, and do not have access to adequate health care, education facilities or agricultural resources.
The people of the Gambia are in great need of the life-changing hope that child sponsorship  can bring to their families and communities. You can sponsor a child in the Gambia through ActionAid, one of the world's leading relief and development agencies. They have developed a child sponsorship scheme  which links people in more affluent countries with individual children in developing countries around the world.
ActionAid  has been working alongside communities in the Gambia since 1979, and seeks to improve access to basic sanitation, health and education facilities. It has invested in the training of health workers (including HIV counsellors) and the provision of health services, which are otherwise too few and far between to be of service to most in the Gambia. It also invests heavily in the construction of education facilities, and the training of teachers in 'Relfect', ActionAid's hugely successful adult literacy program.
Efforts are also focused on supplying clean, safe water to as many people as possible. This is often combined with the training of farmers in innovative techniques that yield bigger harvests while conserving water and soil usage. ActionAid supports micro-finance companies that make small loans and credit available to business start-ups.
In the 37 years since its inception, ActionAid has reached many millions people in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and it has developed a wealth expertise in fighting poverty. The charity partners with local organisations and recognises the need to work with communities on their own terms, and not impose solutions. By getting to know the culture intimately ActionAid workers have the best possible opportunity to effect a lasting end to poverty.
Sponsoring a child in the Gambia  today will cost you only 50 pence per day. Your money will also go towards development efforts in the town in which the child you sponsor lives. This will ensure the most efficient and effective use of your money.
As a child sponsor you will be able arrange a personal visit with your child and to communicate with them. You can also look forward to receiving special letters and drawings, including a new photograph every two years. Additionally, you get to see where and how your money is being spent by keeping in touch with your child's local ActionAid office, and through regular editions of Common Cause, ActionAid's newsletter.
You may also like to consider sponsoring a child in Gambia through the following trusted agencies: