Geograhic and demographic information
Gambia is situated in West Africa by the Atlantic Ocean. It is divided by the Gambian river. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, because there are no natural resources and is ranked # 165 of 175 in the UNDP Human Development Index 1999. The country is about 35 km wide and from the most westerly point to the eastern coast of Senegal it measures 435 km., only 10.690 square km; it is the smallest country on the Africa continent. The Gambia is a predominantly agriculture country. The country is populated by 15 different tribes who speak about 30 different languages. English is the universal language. Around 60 % of the population is illiterate and still there is no compulsory education.
The following tribes can be found in the Gambia :
Wollof, Mandinka, Fula, Jola and Sarrahuli. These tribes live in peace with and next to one another. Eighty to ninety per cent of the population are Islamic.. All living together with mutual understanding and respect for each other’s traditional norms and values. In Gambia 23 % of the population are considered very poor and 18 % are considered poor. The very poor have an income that does not enable them to provide for this basic needs. The poor also live beneath the poverty line but are able to buy their daily food supply.
The climate is subtropical with a rainy season lasting 4 to 5 months. This is followed by a dry spell. Because of poverty of these people they need a great deal of help to improve their living conditions. Culture constitutes the way of life of people. It is a big by-product of a relation between people and a society speaks out through his culture. Culture gives expression to the social thought, beliefs and values of human beings. The sense of community has served as a welfare system for many African societies where the old, the disabled and children are given protection. Even though poverty increases dependency and causes strain to the providers, without the sense of community the weight of poverty would be much more.