‘Donkey school buses’ take young children to their classes

Donkey Cart Takes Childreom To School In The Gambia
A donkey cart takes children from Sinchou Demben village to their nearest school (World Bank / Aylin Elci)

Early childhood development, Right to education

Students in rural parts of The Gambia are getting to their early childhood development and primary classes thanks to an expanding transport programme.

All aboard the donkey express! This green cart has seating for 10 and is the perfect way to take young children to their school almost two miles away.

But it’s not the only “donkey school bus” making the daily journey. There are 200 of them, taking 2000 students from rural villages to their early childhood development and primary classes in The Gambia.

The next phase of the project will see another 100 donkey carts introduced to take a further 1000 young children to school.

The idea was thought up by a former government official who came from a rural village himself. It’s part of a wider drive – supported by the World Bank – to get more children into school in a country where almost 30% of them are not getting an education.

Gambian Children On Their Donkey School Bus

Early childhood development students are taken home from their school in Medina Manneh (World Bank / Aylin Elci)

Alison Marie Grimsland, an education specialist in west and central Africa region, described the service in an article for the World Bank.

She wrote: “The donkey carts, which are placed in rural communities, are designed to transport children in early childhood development programmes as well as first and second year students (ages three to eight) who find the three kilometres walk too cumbersome. 

“The initiative, which is community-managed, helps ensure that children attend school daily and helps allay parents’ concerns that their little ones can make the long distance safely.”

Adama Jobe, from the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, said: “The initiative is something we can be proud of as a ministry.

“Children want to go to school and we support them. The donkey carts have really made a difference.”

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