Wonder Years Centre of Excellence (WYCE) is a UK-registered charity (No. 1089167) and Gambian-registered NGO (A78). We believe that education, health care and sustainable livelihoods are the key to enabling Gambians to make a better future for themselves. We aim to offer a hand up, not just a hand out.
The Gambia is Africa's smallest nation, and one of its poorest. WYCE has been operating in The Gambia since 2001. Over the years, what started as a single nursery class to support children’s learning and development has been slowly evolving and growing. We now provide education (in partnership with the Gambian Government) – and a hot meal - for more than 600 children each day, a primary health care clinic and emergency hospital transfer service, skills training and livelihoods for the local community. In The Gambia, WYCE is run by Gambians, for Gambians.
A key focus of our work over recent years has been upon ensuring the sustainability of our core work for the future. We work on a not-for-profit basis, all income being used to fund our core programmes: education, healthcare and livelihoods. Traditionally, WYCE relied heavily on the UK charity as its primary funder, but in recent years we successfully earned income in The Gambia through the refurbishment, repair and sale of bicycles as a result of our partnership with UK charity Re~Cycle. In 2017, 68% of WYCE’s income in The Gambia was earned through enterprises such as this – 32% coming from UK via donations and from lodge fees paid by visiting volunteers.
If you feel you can help and would like to get involved please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can make donations via the button at the bottom of this page.
Welcome to WYCE!
Providing quality education was the reason that WYCE was founded, and remains at the heart of all that we do. The WYCE school started in 2004 with 50 nursery pupils and now has expanded – through partnership with the Gambian Government - to more than 500 children aged 4-14. Over 2016 and 2017 it has expanded further to include pupils up to age 16. We are very proud of the hard work of pupils and teachers, and the ongoing improvement of results. WYCE provides a hot meal for each child in nursery and school Monday - Thursday. This makes a big difference to the growth and development of children, encourages enrolment and attendance at school, and improves educational achievement.In addition, WYCE provides adult literacy classes for villagers – especially women - enhancing their ability to support their children’s education and to make small businesses for themselves.
WYCE provides a primary health care clinic and maternity services for the community, employing a dual-qualified nurse-midwife and a community health worker. We also transfer and transport patients to the nearest hospital in an emergency. The clinic provides separate facilities for women in labour, post-natal care and for outpatients/nurse consultations, and we also have a shaded waiting area outside, to ensure privacy. Each year, we see more than 3,000 patient visits and more than 50 babies are born in the clinic. The most common health problems we treat are malaria, fever, chest pain, cough, sore mouth, diarrhoea, respiratory tract infection, wounds and skin infections. We provide malaria tests and treatment - the death rate has fallen significantly – and family planning.
In The Gambia, WYCE is run by Gambians for Gambians. We provide secure employment for around 25 people in the school, clinic, lodge and our income generation activities. By improving Gambians’ education, literacy, numeracy and health, we are helping the people of Madina Salam and the wider community to stand on their own two feet – so that they can get jobs or set up their own enterprises to support themselves and their families.
We are working towards the long-term goal of making WYCE in The Gambia self-sustaining. We run a bee farm (producing honey, beeswax, soap, candles and creams), building workshop, bike sales and workshop, shop, bakery, and the working lodge. These are all designed to develop skills and provide jobs for local people, and to make money to cover the running costs of the school and clinic. Bikes have proved to be our most successful step towards self-sufficiency and sustainability. Through our partnership with UK Charity Re~Cycle, containers of donated used bicycles are sent to The Gambia, which we refurbish and sell, generating income.
“Education, healthcare, and livelihoods have always been, and will always be, at the core of what WYCE is about. Everyone who works for WYCE in Madina Salam, volunteers with WYCE in The Gambia or the UK, or gives their time as a Trustee, does it because they believe that these three areas are key to sustainable development in The Gambia "
Lesley Dunlop, Co-chair of trustees WYCE UK