“The Smiling Coast of Africa”
The Gambia is the smallest nation in continental Africa. It is located in West Africa and borders the Atlantic Ocean and Senegal. It consists of two narrow strips of land on the north and south banks of the Gambia River that extend more than 200 miles into the African continent. At its widest point, The Gambia is less than 25 miles wide.
The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in The Gambia at the invitation of the Gambian government in September 1967. Peace Corps/The Gambia currently works in three development sectors: education, the environment, and health and community development.
Regardless of their sector-specific assignments, volunteers have ample opportunity to work with colleagues in other sectors, as well as in secondary activities such as HIV/AIDS education, youth and gender development, and girls’ education.
About 30 Volunteers are currently serving in the health and community development project. They help develop primary health care, which The Gambia has adopted as its strategy for national health development, and they work to assess and mobilize communities for self-development. Fortunately, in The Gambia, unlike many other African countries, AIDS has not yet reached pandemic proportions, and other killer diseases, notably malaria, are much more common. The official rate of HIV prevalence is about 2.8 percent, and victims are mostly concentrated in larger cities.