Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: The Gambia (The Gambia)

Created 10 April 2000, links updated monthly with the help of LinkAlarm.

Gambian flag David Bar-TzurGambian flag

map of The Gambia

Flag: World flag database.
Map: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection.

For a quick, interesting resource for facts about this and other countries,
try Mystic Planet - The New Age directory of Planet Earth.

Note: A flag next to a link shows what language the website is in. If it is followed by this icon: (video camera: This links to a video), it is a video in that spoken language. If it is followed by this icon: Sign Language icon, it is in the sign language of that country. If a globe is followed by this hands icon, there is an animated text in International Gesture.

Deaf and social services Deaf culture Deaf education & youth Deaf history and current events Gambian Sign Language
Gambian Sign Language dictionaries General interpreting issues Organizations

Deaf and social services

Government implementation of the standard rules as seen by member organizations of World Federation of the Deaf - The Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Gambia.

Deaf culture

Deaftravel. The smiling coast - The Gambia.

Deaf education & youth

Education for Development - Projects. Gambia; Literacy, Deaf Sign and Employment and the Learning exchange Grant. Andrew Mootoo from the Deafax trust visited the Gambia to work with the team on the use of video for recording purposes, and the installation and use of a scanner. The latter has made easier the process of transferring drawings for the sign language books. These are developed and drawn in the Gambia then sent back to the UK and Germany for checking and for Graphic design. They are finally transferred electronically back to the Gambia for printing. Andrew, who is also employed as graphic designer in the production of the books was able to work closely with the artist and to share expertise. A third sign language book is now underway and due to be published next year.

Extract from the Gambia Daily News, Tuesday February 16, 1999. Scroll down to "A Swedish National assists St. John's School for the Deaf."

Gambia News Community. (2007, December 27). GADHOH Certifies 17 students. The Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing GADHOH female Wing awarded certificates to 17 of its year 2007 students recently. Speaking at the occasion, Mrs. Isatou Sanyang Director of GADHOH female Wing, revealed that the students were trained on skills such as sign language, tie and dye, sawing, soap and omo making. She said that skills training for a deaf person are very vital, as it would not only create self-employment but also enable them to contribute towards national development. She appealed to the general public to support the deaf people and also for parents to send their deaf children to GADHOH new office at Kanifing to learn skills. This certificate would show your parents and employees your competence,� she said.

Jatta, J. Inclusive education networking in The Gambia. Only through collaboration and networking among people and institutions can we derive developments for all. Networking on inclusive education requires a change of attitude and a willingness to embrace the many opportunities and complex challenges we face. It can encourage participation and initiative, capacity-building, collaborative efforts, shared experiences, and the transfer of specialised knowledge, skills and techniques � within and between communities, schools, special and mainstream education systems, and national and regional initiatives.

Twoat press release 1. Scroll down to "Gambia - St. John's School for the Deaf.

Deaf history and current events

DeafTODAY. (2003, June 13). Deaf Call for Equal Opportunities. The Gambia Association of the Deaf and Heard of Hearing (GADHOH), which stands to defend the interests of Gambian deaf has called for equal opportunities to liberate its members from the cringes of discrimination and prejudice, bedeviling deaf in the development of the nation. According to Oumie Joof, the condition of the deaf is depressing, as they have been marginalised and subjected to all forms of discrimination and prejudicial treatments, which had for decade alienated them from participating in national development, noting that "there is a need for attitudinal change to change this trend".

Gambia News Community. (2007, November 20). Chief Tabora Manneh honoured. The Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH), Barra Regional Branch, on Saturday, November 17, honoured Alhagie Tabora Manneh, Chief of Lower Niumi District, as their honourary father. The event was marked by a colourful ceremony held at his residence in Barra.

Jonga, M. (2008, January 14). Gambia: The Deaf And Hard of Hearing Need Help. The deaf and hard of hearing, who are part and parcel of society, definitely need help as was made evident by the utterances of their leaders at their Annual General Meeting.

Miles, M. (2005). Deaf people living and communication in African histories, c. 960s - 1960s. There is strong documentary evidence that deaf or hearing impaired men and women, girls and boys, did occupy social space and took roles across the full spectrum of life throughout Africa in earlier centuries, living lives like everyone else and also having some different experiences. Traces and signs of deaf people appear in many sorts of historical document, such as travellers' accounts, legal and genealogical records, government, institutional and missionary archives, linguistic studies, literature, folklore, religious narrative, mime, dance and drama. Many of their experiences have involved severe economic poverty and adversity, stigmatising attitudes and exclusionary practices; yet this has not been the norm everywhere in Africa, and many deaf people have shown great resilience, perseverance, humour and ingenuity in their dealings and communications with the non-deaf world.

Gambian Sign Language

ikspandoodle. (2007, June 18). chillin Gambia style.Gambian flagSign Language icon

Gambian Sign Language dictionaries

Gambian Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - Sign books. GADHOH has documented many signs in 4 different volumes. This is only a first step towards developing a GADHOH dictionary of Gambian sign language. The initiative was made possible with the assistance of the EdDev project (2001 - 2005). This is still developing and we hope to change some signes in future. GADHOH is again looking for assistanace for this dictionary project. Here are some of what the books contain

General interpreting issues

Bajo, Y. (2008, February 13). Gambia: 'We Need More Sign Language Interpreters,' GADHOH Executive Director Laments. Mr. Dodou Loum, the Executive Director of Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH), has lamented that the deaf community in The Gambia are depending on only four (4) sign language interpreters countrywide to facilitate communication between the deaf and the rest of the hearing population.


Gambian Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) is a member of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an international, an international, non-governmental, central organization of national associations of the Deaf. Projects at GADHOH include the Female Wing which teaches Gambian Sign Language to uneducated Deaf women and children, as well as income generating skills such as hairdressing, tailoring and knitting.