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.
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.
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.