Bafrow Medical Centre

Providing quality,affordable and accessible health care services.

Bafrow Medical Centre

Mandinaba Model Village

Bafrow's Model Centre in Mandinaba showcases our holistic,comprehensive and human centered approach to sustainable development.

Female Genital Cutting

BAFROW's comprehensive and integrated FGMC prevention program advocates for a restructured rites of passage of girls that excludes cutting

Fistula Prevention and Management

The first Fistula treatment and rehabilitation centre in The Gambia has increased treatment of Fistula patients.

'Dundal Njoboot' High Protein Cereal

Bafrow's campaign on nutritional re-orientation has made significant progress in the reduction of malnutrition in The Gambia. Dundal Njoboot is now a household name in The Gambia

Women's Empowerment

Through functional literacy, communities and women in particular have been empowered with knowledgde and skills that enables them to make their own decisions including protection of their sexual and reproductive rights

Functional Literacy


 In The Gambia, illiteracy among women is very high. This means that they have to depend highly  on information given to them which is, at most times, incomplete. As a result, ill health is usually  attributed to superstiti on, witchcraft, sorcery and bad omen. Without a scientific based knowledge,  it  is difficult for women to conceptualize the fragmented messages that come to them, for instance  the  health consequences associated with FGMC and STIs, as well as gynecological problems relating  to  early childhood marriages, etc. This largely contributes to their high level of ignorance, which  subsequently impedes all efforts by themselves and others to improve their socio-economic status. 

 BAFROW's Functional Literacy Program was introduced as part of the integrated interventions for  community empowerment using the REFLECT (Regenerated Freirean literacy through empowering  community techniques) Approach in all the classes. This approach involves processes through which  communities are able to discuss, identify analyze and understand their problems and needs, and  propose possible solutions and actions towards solving them, with the ability  to articulate their issues through writing and to further empower themselves through reading. The approach is based on the following key realities.

  • Empowerment or human liberation is an outcome of education
  • Education is always political, never neutral, as it serves to bring about change or maintains the status quo
  • All people have the capacity to solve problems. Education is a search for solutions to challenges
  • Action is more effective when people stop to reflect upon a problem, analyze it and seek to identify what needs to be done to bring about change. True learning occurs as an ongoing spiral of reflection, planning and action ("praxis") which in turn leads to further reflection (of the new situation), planning and action
  • Knowledge does not emerge from experts. The emphasis is on the collective knowledge that emerges from a group sharing experiences and understanding the social influences that affect individual lives.

BAFROW's literacy program ensures that women know how to read and write in their local languages, and receive a wild range of health education to guide them in making informed decisions on their health in general and their reproductive health in particular. To
further strengthen their knowledge, they are provided free-of-charge Simple Readers on relevant reproductive health and rights issues, community and national development, and environmental issues, all of which are translated into Mandinka, a language spoken and understood by the majority of the rural population, and in which the literacy students can read and write. They are taught how to do simple arithmetic and calculations to assist them in keeping record of their businesses. They are provided with basic training in communication, advocacy and lobbying skills, as well as in how to carry out community mobilization and awareness raising activities.

BAFROW organizes special training for women who wish to advance their education in specific areas. For instance, in the area of health, BAFROW has trained groups of rural women as community health mobilizers for health promotion and protection.  They are trained to identify health problems that are preventable in their communities, determine the causes of these problems, analyses them and decide on how to prevent the occurrence and recurrence of such problems. The issues, the problems, and their solutions are written down by the women themselves and given to BAFROW to published in its Simple Readers series which form part of the training material for subsequent literacy students. The books are reader friendly, explicit and pictorial. The Simple Readers are in stages of advancement; they are published as the problems are documented. Once the learner completes a thematic Reader, she is given a copy to take with her and continues to read in order to sustain her knowledge and build up on her skills.

 Our first set of trainers graduated with such high competency in reading and writing that they were  able to write and read their own speeches during their graduation ceremony. With these skills, they  are able to design and present health issues to their communities in their respective mother  tongues. The health mobilizers and promoters have themselves participated in the establishment of  a system of monitoring and referral of patients and clients to the nearest health facility within their  communities. They participated inthe design of the forms for monitoring and decided on what  information the forms should contain. They are able to administer these forms and fill them  accordingly using their reading and writing skills, and their knowledge on health, especially on  sexual and reproductive health matters. 

 Some of them are currently attached to the BAFROW Well Woman's Family Clinics at Ndemban,  Berefet, Mandinaba, and Bondali where they are applying their skills and knowledge gained to  improve the quality of their health and that of their communities, working as either community  health promoters and mobilizers, and nurse assistants/attendants.

Since the program started the literacy rate among women had increased, for instance in Mandinaba from 10% among women aged 18 and above in 1999 to 60% in 2006 and 70% in 2010. The communities in general and women in particular realize and appreciate the benefits of "women's education", as a result, they are willing to send their girls to school and support them to complete their education. They are also contributing to the operation of the functional literacy program.  

The value and importance of this program is manifested in varying degrees of satisfaction, contentment and results-oriented community actions. The story below of Ya Fatou Kujabi, a graduate of BAFROW's first functional literacy class at Mandinaba sums it all up


YA FATOU KUJABI -A Success Story

  At forty-two years old, Ya Fatou Kujabi has been married for twenty-two years with seven children; one of whom  passed  away a few years back from health complications because she could not be rushed to the hospital on time.  Before she  joined BAFROW’s functional literacy program, she sold fruits such as oranges and mangoes in her village  to support her  husband who was then out of a job after the company he worked for closed down. She also used some  of that money to  pay for her children’s school fees.

 When BAFROW brought its functional literacy program to Mandinaba and explained its benefits to the women, Ya  Fatou,  with her husband’s support, decided to enroll. She participated in several classes including those dealing with  reading and  writing in her native language, awareness creation on sexual and reproductive health, harmful traditional  practices that  affect women’s health especially female genital mutilation/cutting, human rights with focus on the rights  of women,  communication, public speaking and lobbying skills, tools on making informed decisions, and basic  arithmetic and  business management


Photo Gallery

Visit of IDB President to BAFROW’s fistula Centre EGDC Director to Bafrows Fistula Centrre  First baby of 2016 at BAFROW Clinic

Presentation of gifts to parents of the  first baby

Show of gratitude and appreciation Awareness raising in communities Friends of BAFROW