SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s villages in The Gambia).

Basse, which is also known as Basse Santa Su, is a city in the eastern part of The Gambia, around 400 km from the capital city of Banjul. It is the capital of the Upper River Region. While the region has a population of around 240,000 people, most of them live in rural areas and only 14,000 live in the city of Basse. The economy is mostly based around agriculture, especially seasonal crops and groundnuts.

Since 2007, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families, and advocating for their rights in Basse.

Of girls have undergone female genital mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation

Three quarters of girls and women in The Gambia have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). The World Health Organization defines FGM as “the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” It is a harmful practice that violates the rights and negatively impacts the well-being of girls. It has no health benefits for girls and women and can be seen as a direct manifestation of gender inequality. In 2015 The Gambia passed a law officially banning FGM, however, it has not been strictly enforced.

Of adults in Basse know how to read and write


Less than a third of the adult population (15 years and older) in Basse know how to read and write. This is well below the national average of 51%. There is also a very steep urban-rural gap: in the capital city of Banjul almost three times as many people can read and write than in Basse. Achieving and improving literacy skills is an important part of the right to education. Knowing how to read and write can empower people and enable them to participate fully in society. It can also contribute to improving their living standards.

Your support makes a difference for children in Basse

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and adults
Received medical support
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children playing together. Siblings grow up together in families, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages in The Gambia).

How your support helps in Basse

Strengthening vulnerable families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Providing medical care
In areas with limited health services, SOS Children’s Villages provides medical advice and assistance. We offer preventative measures such as medical check-ups and vaccination programmes. Most of the patients who approach us for medical help come from local families, who could otherwise not afford to receive treatment. In Basse young people can participate in workshops on topics such as sexual and reproductive health.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.