Local Entrepreneurs in Gunjur

We are delighted by the work of our colleagues in the Business Development Steering Committee and Buba Touray the new Programme Manager. Buba introduced us to a number of new and established entrepreneurs who are requesting small loans to develop their businesses.

A women's group in nearby Berending are picking leaves from the nearby neem tree, boiling the leaves in water and then adding soap flakes and vegetable oil to the extract producing an effective insect repellent which prevent children from being bitten by mosquitoes and getting malaria. They need funds to buy the raw materials to increase their production and make it more efficient including more charcoal stoves.

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 Alieu Darboe is passionate about the horrors of plastic rubbish which lies around on the streets. Anyone who has been to Gunjur will know that this is not only a terrible eyesore but poses a real threat to health and to the environment. Alieu and his team have collected mountains of waste in bin bags which he is currently storing in two large sheds. We are supporting him in starting a business of compressing the plastic to make bricks for construction purposes. Once prepared, plastic bags can also be turned into a durable thread which can then be crocheted into bags, hats, sandals, belts and much more. Simple training and basic tools can turn plastic bags into attractive products popular in the eco tourism industry.

A local tailoring cooperative are hoping to expand into larger premises, and need more sewing machines. This group also self-organise shared skills workshops and business coaching.

Lamin is a poultry farmer who needs funds to provide a larger premises and a free range area for his growing chicken and duck brood which are already bringing in a small income through the sale of eggs and meat.

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Ndey is running a small hairdressing and beauty parlour but is finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with demand. She needs financial support to enable her to buy more equipment, employ another hairdresser and move to larger premises.

Maimuna recognised that there is a problem of young girls dropping out of school as they don't have the means to deal with menstrual bleeding. She is sewing reusable sanitary towels made entirely from locally available material which she sells at 3 for £1.50 which after washing in soap and salt can be re-used and she believes will last for five years. She is mounting a public education campaign through the teenage girls and hopes to secure funding for another sewing machine so that she can employ another member of staff.

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We are planning to give small entrepreneurs like these, loans to cover the sums they are requesting to be paid back over 2-3 years on production of a proper business plan which they will produce with the help of our TARUD business programme manager Buba Touray.

Why not become a Friend to MBG and help support our projects.

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.

Read more: Justine Greening MP

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.