GOVI is a registered non-governmental organisation which was
founded in Banjul in 1991 after a merger between The Gambia
Society for the Blind and The Gambia Association of the Blind.
Its main focus is on school education, prevention of blindness,
the treatment of people with eye impairments and advocacy
for people with limited or no vision to equal rights and opportunities
in all areas of social and economic life.
GOVI is a national institution which works with related institutions,
families and communities to enhance the welfare of people
with visual impairments and blindness.
Activities & Programmes:
Both adults and children as well as families can take part
in the following schemes & activities.
• Fundraising activities.
• Hardship relief & emergency aid.
• Livelihood skills training & employment assistance.
• Local branch development.
• Reduce preventable blindness.
• Rehabilitation within the community.
• Rights advocacy & child protection.
The GOVI Resource Centre in Kanifing South is currently the
only special needs school for blind children in The Gambia.
Pupils attend free from nursery school age of 3 up to between
Grade 1 to 4 of primary school for weekday teaching lessons.
After mastering Braille and graduation they are then assimilated
into the mainstream community education system to finish their
higher level schooling.
The school is supported by international donors who provide
educational materials such as Braille paper / machines, talking
books, IT equipment, stationery, recording equipment etc.
They also finance essential teacher training as well as sponsor
some of the children with uniforms, allowances etc. Among
these sponsors are the formally named Friends of Govi in the
UK, SENSIS International in Holland and Muslim Aid (UK) among
Individuals also assist the GOVI Resource Centre through local
sponsorship, providing school meals in the morning and at
The central government gives its support through employing
teachers for the school as well as overseeing and evaluating
education standards and puts in place vehicles to meet the
travelling requirements of children from their home residence
to the campus.
Students are enrolled upon satisfactorily meeting the requirements
of the GOVI Resource Centre which is to produce a medical
report from the relevant education authorities that meet their
standard to qualify for admittance.
• Classroom Lessons
Most of the teaching that takes place is in Braille which
is introduced early on after they have commenced attending
• Orientation & Daily Life Skills
Children are taught skills in ADLs or Activities of Daily
Living which is intended to give them greater independence
at home and in public life. Some of these practical lessons
includes putting on clothing, preparing and cooking food,
eating, washing their bodies, using the toilet and general
One of the first things they learn is O&M or the Orientation
and Mobility Training which is intended to make the children
aware of the school spaces, walkways, buildings and classrooms
so they can safely and independently move around within the
• Livelihood Training
Arts and crafts are taught such as rug weaving, horticulture,
basket making, music etc. These subjects are incorporated
into lessons which also feature the National Curriculum covering
core lessons such as Integrated Studies, math, history, English
After the children have finished Grade 4 they are provided
with audio recorders, Braille typing machines, paper and other
essential learning materials required.
They are then taken into the Gambia Government backed scheme
called the Integrated Education Programme (IEP) which supervises
blind and visually impaired children with the assistance of
mobile specialist teachers.
GOVI Partners / Membership in &
Outside The Gambia.
• Africa Union for the Blind (AFUB) - member.
• Children in Crossfire (UK) - early childcare & development.
• Force Foundation - Capacity building through training.
• Friends of GOVI UK (re-named Friends of Visually Impaired
Children in the Gambia) Supports the GOVI School and have
been long term supporters for many years.
• Gambia Federation of the Disabled.
• Government of The Republic of The Gambia.
• Muslim Aid UK - long-term supporter of GOVI projects.
• Perkis School for the Blind (Watertown, Massachusetts, USA).
• Sight Savers International.
• TANGO- The Association of Non Government Organisations -
• Visio International (SENSIS) Netherlands (capacity building).
• VSO - provides volunteers from the UK giving technical advice.
/ capacity building.
• World Blind Union.
Fatou Mbaye Memorial Hall:
It operates a facility which is open for hire for various
functions & meetings.
• Ceremonies (awards, weddings)
• Seminars & Workshops
• Study Lectures