Justine Greening MP

Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening supports the new business focused direction MBG is taking in Gunjur. Unemployment amongst young men is a serious problem in the Gambia and beyond, and has formed the basis of a new business strategy between MBG and NGO partners in Gunjur TARUD. Justine responds to a recent correspondance between MBG Director Nick Maurice and Claire Perry MP:

"I was very encouraged to read about the excellent work of the Marlborough Brandt Group in supporting young people to gain employment on the Gambia. DFID is increasingly focusing on driving sustainable and inclusive growth that will reduce poverty for all by creating jobs and increasing incomes in Africa."

Read Justine's letter in full.

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Business Initiative Launched in Gunjur - Nick Maurice

I was in Gunjur for a week with Chris Vidler, who comes from a background in business education. During the week we interviewed and appointed a new Business Programme Manager, the excellent Buba Touray a graduate in Business studies and Economics from the University of The Gambia who will be overseeing the new direction for our and TARUD's programme.

Buba Touray

Local men meet to discuss isssues of unemployement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Already he has selected three young business entrepreneurs, a woman hairdresser, a market stall holder and a young man who is setting up a museum in Gunjur to ensure that traditional culture is not lost, to attend a business management course run by Action Aid.

In addition Buba has identified eight people, one from each of the kabilos (wards) in Gunjur to attend, at our expense, a year-long City and Guilds course at the Gambian Technical Training Institute in a variety of skills. They will be given a loan on completion of their course and on production of a suitable business plan so that we can encourage wealth creation and employment in Gunjur. We have been particularly concerned at the high level of unemployment amongst young men in Gunjur and that is now very much the focus of our and TARUD's future programme.
In the meantime, our programme funded by the Arkleton Trust of identifying groups of five young people who will come up with business proposals and will compete with other groups to obtain a loan to get the business up and running, is beginning to take off and already groups interested in electrical work and plumbing (now that electricity and piped water have reached Gunjur) are coming forward.

One particularly interesting initiative has been started by a young woman who was trained under the auspices of MBG and TARUD to make sanitary towels from local materials on the basis that girls are dropping out of school when they start to menstruate because they don't have access to proper protection and the privacy required.

Another group of young men is collecting the waste plastic rubbish which lies around in Gunjur. There is the potential for making and selling plastic bricks for building by compressing the plastic bags collected in the streets. And local women are setting up a business making neem cream, an insect repellent made from the leaves of the neem tree.

Summer Visit Success

 Our excellent group of students from St John's, from London and from Ireland were in Gunjur for three weeks in July and August staying with families and working on the construction of a fence around the magnificently productive 12 acre women's vegetable garden which was first fenced in 1999 by another indomitable group of students led by Nick Webb, using traditional materials, to keep cattle out. After 15 years, the cattle were beginning to win the battle, the cabbages were suffering and it was time to provide concrete posts and barbed wire.

Read more: Summer Visit Success