What we do

Since 2011 Give volunteershave been supporting early educators in the Gambia.


Early Childhood Education

Give volunteers run workshops for teachers in Early Childhood Education (3 to 6 year old children). GIVE has been doing so since 2012 and is deeply indebted to all of its volunteers for their contribution to its mission. GIVE now works closely with Gambian teachers who facilitate these workshops with their colleague teachers - in their own schools and in clusters of schools.

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Lower Basic (Primary)

GIVE's vision is to continue to work with teachers at Grades 1 and 2 Lower Basic on aspects of their professional development and also to enable teachers at this level to become facilitators of professional development workshops with their colleagues in their own schools.

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Skills centres

Skills Centres cater for girls aged 17 to 20 who have finished with or opted out of education at 12/13 years of age. The majority of the students come from areas near the three designated mission schools. However, some travel long distances in order to join this much sought after "last chance" option.

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Classroom Teacher Support

Michael Griffin said that the GIVE mission is to build a supportive, collaborative partnership between Irish teachers and teachers in the Gambia.

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How it all began

The Gambia Ireland Volunteers in Education (GIVE) had its origins way back in 1974 when two young country teachers, Joe Griffin, from Lispole, Co. Kerry, and Micheal McHugh, from Sligo, met while working in a new school, Scoil Cholmcille, Tallaght.

Joe Griffin went on to become School Principal in Scoil Cholmcille in Ballybrack, Co.Dublin and later Ashfield College, Templeogue. Michael McHugh progressed to become CEO of the INTO Credit Union, Comhar Linn. Then in 2008 Joe Griffin took early retirement but soon felt he had more to give.

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Signatory of Comhlamh

Reg. Charity: CHY20100




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I retired in 2016 and have been to The Gambia twice since then. I have found it to be a most rewarding and enjoyable experience. 
 I taught English in St Peter`s Skill Centre working with young adult women aged between 16 - 24 years .The main emphasis was to provide an enjoyable ,positive experience for the students with an emphasis on oral language, literacy and general knowledge .The Gambians were wonderful to work with , enthusiastic, interested, with a great sense of fun. We also had many interesting , lively discussions on cultural and societal issues. 
 There were challenges in sourcing appropriate materials and the wide range of abilities within the groups but this did not detract from the positive experience. My hope is that the students got as much from my time in St Peter`s as I certainly did .

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Jean Geraghty
Give volunteer 2018

Prior to 2010. I had never heard of the Gambia,West Africa. Then, Joe Griffin, a retired teacher placed an advertisement in Comhnasc, the Retired Teachers magazine, looking for volunteer teachers to go The Gambia for 6 weeks in January 2011. I immediately expressed an interest and  my life was to change forever.. In January 2011 ten volunteers from GIVE, we arrived in The Gambia. We were full of enthusiasm and eager to set about our task. We were allocated different schools and it was a strange experience arriving for the first day. I arrived, alone, at St. Pater’s School in Lamin and was immediately welcomed and made at home by the Principal. Attached to the Primary School was a Skills Centre where girls betwee the ages day f 18 and 25 attended. They were returning to the educational system having dropped out in early Secondary School. They all had one thing in common —- a great desire to learn.
I have been teaching them English for the past 9 years and it has been a great experience for me.
However I must emphasize that apart from a teaching experience it is also a wonderful learning experience. The Gambia people are very friendly and communicate easily. It is a great joy  to experience a new culture and to try and understand how the people live. While very poor they all support each  other and  their constant state of happiness belies their poverty.
Necessary educational equipment and proper facilities are in short supply and the classes are very large. However the  students and teachers in The Gambia build up a very  good relationship with the GIVE Teachers and classes are held in a very friendly atmosphere and environment. Apart from the formal education the students are always keen to learn about the Irish teachers, their familie , Irish culture and about Ireland itself. Likewise the Irish teachers are always keen to learn about the Gambian culture. One of the highlights of the GIVE project is at the conclusion of the course when, on the final day, the students perform their tribal dance, songs, etc.
The success of the GIVE project, in my opinion, is that the project is based on Work and Play. The GIVE volunteers work very hard during school time and rest, relax and enjoy each other’s company in the evenings and at weekends. The GIVE volunteers also go on Safari during their stay and that is a wonderful experience enjoyed by all. Indeed it would be true to say that there is great Craic amongst the group and lifelong friendships are made. The success of GIVE is also evidenced by fact that many of the volunteers keep returning each year. Needless to say The Gambia is a Tourist area with beautiful beaches and restaurants. The GIVE volunteers stay in a hotel on the beach and really enjoy their stay there.
I have been living in The Gambia for the past nine years and have been involved with GIVE all that time. I have observed at first hand over that period of time the impact GIVE has  made, They have greatly influenced  both the teachers and students in that poor country. Their contribution is greatly appreciated by The Gambian Educational authorities but most importantly by the Gambian people themselves.
I think that the GIVE Project is ideal for teachers who are just retiring and who would like to “give something back”. After all it is only for five or six weeks in January/February when the weather is  cold, wet and windy  in Ireland while  at that same time we are living in glorious sunshine in The Gambia.
The Gambia is known as the Smiling Coast of Africa. Since I arrived there with GIVE nine years ago I, like many of the GIVE volunteers, have been smiling.
GIVE and The Gambia experience has changed my live and the lives of many other Irish Teachers for the good. To retired teachers I would say it is an experience not to be missed. You GIVE of your talents and in return you TAKE all the happiness the beautiful Gambia has to offer.
As I pen these words I am here in Ireland for two months holiday and already I cannot wait to go back “HOME” to The Gambia and I am looking forward 
especially to welcoming my GIVE friends and colleagues when they arrive in January.

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Ciaran Black
Give volunteer 2011

I travelled to The Gambia with Give in 2018 and 2019.  I was newly retired in 2018 and though initially a little apprehensive ( I remember asking at the introductory meeting whether there was electricity and running water! The trip was everything I had hoped for... and more. I found the work rewarding , enjoyable and a very worthwhile experience. Never having been in Africa before I felt as if this was a new 'adventure'. The travel arrangements were excellent, we were well looked after while in Gambia and I felt that there was a lovely sense of camaraderie among the members of the group. Overall I feel that my Gambian experience ( though only lasting 5-6wks of the year) has added a new dimension to my retirement and I would recommend it highly to anyone seeking a new 'adventure'.

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Imelda Traynor
Give volunteer 2018

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The Gambia is one of the smallest and poorest countries in Africa, extending 300 miles into the African Continent.

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About Give

The Gambia Ireland Volunteers in Education (GIVE) originated in 1974 when two young country teachers met in Scoil Cholmcille, Tallaght.

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