The Gambia

The Gambia is a small country in West Africa. It is, in fact, the smallest country on mainland Africa. Apart from a small Atlantic seaboard, it is entirely surrounded by Senegal.

AI’s Liaison visited Gambia in May of 2007 and met with several lawyers and judges who were engaged in providing free legal aid for those in prison awaiting trial. The outcome of this visit was that the Gambia was represented for the first time at the AA conference in Kenya 2007.

Our main contact in the Gambia until now has been Mrs. Merley Wood, a Ghanaian lawyer who served for 5 years as State Counsel in the Attorney General’s chambers in Banjul, The Gambia. The Gambia has more foreign judges and lawyers than they have local ones. This is mainly due to the fact that their population is only about 1.7 million and that the first and only faculty of law was just established in 2006. This position has been largely responsible for the inability to start a fellowship, since the Christian lawyers we have had contact with are not Gambian and only in The Gambia on short term contracts, making it difficult to build any lasting network there. Some of the judges were interested in being part of the network but expressed some obstacles they faced as foreigners in a predominantly Muslim country (about 90% Muslim and only about 5% Christian).

Advocates Africa’s West Africa Coordinator, Alison Diarra, visited the country in November 2009, just before Mrs. Wood returned to Ghana. Mrs. Wood was able to introduce her to two female Gambian lawyers, who are both interested in knowing more about Advocates and possibly setting up a group of Christian lawyers in The Gambia in the future. These two lawyers need our prayers and support to help them establish a viable Christian lawyer ministry in that country

Contact a Local Advocate  
Until we establish firm contacts in The Gambia please contact Alison Diarra
(alisondiarra@jemmali.org)

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