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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article3 October 20192 min read

Leveraging jobs and investments through believing in dreams: histories of change from The Gambia

Leveraging jobs and investments through believing in dreams: histories of change from The Gambia

The Gambia Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) addresses the economic root causes of irregular migration by supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship. The project takes a market-led approach to improving the skills and employability of potential and returning migrants according to demands of the job market and simultaneously creating employment opportunities along Gambian value chains.

Restaurant owner Isatou Jobe from The Gambia is changing dining habits in Farafenni, serving quality meals to locals and tourists: “At my restaurant we serve jollof rice, domoda (peanut stew), yassa (spicy chicken or fish), chicken and chips, fish and chips and other food. Foreigners want to go to places where they can eat comfortably and quality food”.

Isatou received support through the Youth Empowerment Project, one of the projects in The Gambia funded by the EUTF, which is fostering entrepreneurship and enhancing job opportunities for youth. “I received my mini grant and it helped me a lot. I am so happy about the International Trade Centre’s Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). They bought many materials for me, like tables, chairs, fridge, gas cooker. I have employed three people and would like to employ more”.

Bagay Nije, from the village of Jagleh, also received a mini grant through the YEP project to start her own business. Thanks to the mini grant, she can now sell the cosmetics she creates in her own beauty salon.

Through the mini grant, she was able to hire a young hairdresser and make-up artist. Her next goals are to employ five more people and to separate the business of make-up creation from the salon.

Most importantly, Bagay will set an example for other young women to follow their ambitions and become fulfilled and economically independent in The Gambia.

Barhama Cham, a singer, songwriter and activist from The Gambia, through her music inspires youngsters to make it in The Gambia: “We have to believe in it, get up, work hard to make the dream”.

Sending messages through entertainment is one of the most successful ways to achieve a large audience in The Gambia. As explained by another singer of the group, "Music plays a key role in sharing information, flows fast and is easier to decode. If every young Gambians would decide to invest their money in their home country instead of moving to Europe, the institutions would be supportive of their effort to contribute to national development”.


Publication date
3 October 2019
Region and Country
  • The Gambia
  • Greater economic and employment opportunities
  • ITC - International Trade Center

Programmes in the region