Bakoteh is a district in the city of Serekunda, which is the largest city in The Gambia. Serekunda is located on the coast and it is part of the Greater Banjul Area.
Because Banjul is confined by its location (it sits between the ocean and the river mouth of the Gambia River), many people who want to work in Banjul move to Serekunda. This has led to a big increase in population in recent years. Currnetly, this area is home to around 340,000 people.
Since 1982, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Bakoteh.
Even though there has been a steady decline in early pregnancy in The Gambia over the past years, the rate is still high: 19% of girls give birth before the age of 18.
Where many aspects of life in The Gambia is concerned, there exists a significant divide between the urban and rural populations. In rural areas, almost twice as many girls become pregnant before the age of 18 compared to in urban areas.
Many girls who become pregnant at and early age have to drop out of school which is why this negatively impacts girls’ education, livelihood, and health.
Child labour is common in The Gambia.
In Banjul, where Bakoteh is located, children might sell newspapers, wash cars or beg on the streets, while in more rural parts of the country children mostly work in agriculture.
Many children involved in child labour drop out of school because families think their time is better spent making money to ensure their family’s survival.
The Gambia has a legal framework against child labour, however, it is not strictly enforced.