The Gambia

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CRS in The Gambia

The Gambia is rated 172 out of 186 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI).  About one-third of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.  The Gambia faces many difficulties that are in tandem with poverty, such as food insecurity, high prevalence of communicable diseases, high levels of malnutrition, maternal and infant mortality, high rates of unemployment, and illiteracy.

CRS’ work in The Gambia is focused on health, including HIV and AIDS, malaria and Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC).


People Served: 2,372,021; (FY 2014: 1,050,056 direct; 1,321,965 indirect)

Population: 1,925,527 (July 2014 est.)

Size: 4,361 sq. mi.; slightly less than twice the size of Delaware

CRS' History in The Gambia

Catholic Relief Services began working in The Gambia in 1964 at the invitation of the Catholic Bishop of Banjul. Since then, we have provided emergency relief to vulnerable people, and strengthened the food security and general health of rural households.

In 2002, CRS became the first NGO in the country to initiate a comprehensive home-based care and support program for people living with HIV. The program was a success. In the interest of strengthening local capacity, we handed over the project to a national NGO in 2005, which then replicated the project in other regions of the country in partnership with the National AIDS Secretariat. 

In 2014, CRS again became the first NGO to secure funding to implement the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention project (SMC). The project was launched in Basse, URR in January 2015. A targeted number of 91,676 children between the ages of 3 to 59 months will be given pyrimethamine plus amodiaquine from August 2015 to November 2015 in both the Central and Upper River Regions.  

CRS’ contribution to malaria prevention and control has led to the reduction of malaria-related morbidity and mortality through prevention and treatment. CRS distributed 971,665 Long Lasting Insecticide treated bednets in 2014 during a nationwide LLIN mass distribution campaign. Pregnant women and children under one year continued to receive LLINs from routine RCH clinics.

Our program targets nearly 1.2 million people. Later this year, we expect that 85% of the country’s most vulnerable people will use insecticide-treated bed nets correctly and that 80% of the country’s population will follow the appropriate steps to prevent and treat malaria.