Small Business Development
In common with many international development agencies the focus of MBG and TARUD's work in Gunjur has focussed on women's development. We have been involved in a women's literacy and numeracy programme, microcredit scheme and income generation through vegetable gardening. Our health education programme through puppet shows on topics such as malaria, hygiene, disability, HIV infection etc has particularly targeted women on the basis that they will use the information within the family.
Since 2013 we have become more aware of the problem of unemployment amongst young men. With an accompanying rise in drug taking and mental health problems. There are frequent incidents across the continent of young men in particular, drowning at sea or perishing whilst trying to cross the Sahara Desert in an effort to start a new life. It is estimated that only 10-15% of men are in employment five years after leaving school and that the ambition of most young Gambian men is to leave The Gambia and get to Europe. 2015 statistics have cited Gambian migrants as making up a high proportion of those drowned during the recent migrant boat crossing disasters over the pasts 18 months.
The outcome of a strategy to deal with this situation, carried out by colleagues in Gunjur, has led to the conclusion that we must change the focus of our work towards encouraging existing entrepreneurs to expand their businesses not least to employ new people and create wealth but also to encourage unemployed young men to develop entrepreneurial ideas with our help.
MBG is now supporting the training, mentoring and facilitation of business start-ups, through a series of grants and loans, for a number of young men and women in and around Gunjur. The arrival of electricity in Gunjur and more recently piped water, has created new and diverse business opportunities, in particular for young people.
Including, Ousman, as seen, making fuel efficient cooking stoves which use briquettes made of compressed peanut husks rather than firewood, thus preserving forests.
Follow three of the successful loan candidates in the MBG Blog.
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