An opportunity to make a real difference for young women in The Gambia.
Whether you have been on holiday in The Gambia or not there is an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of young women who have been exploited, trafficked or treated badly at the hands of others. You could help by donating money, or through volunteering, expertise knowledge and time.
Corporate Social Responsibility has evolved from corporate giving, where donations were made from profits to charitable good causes, generally with the benefit of tax breaks. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, there has been a significant shift as businesses have changed how they do business to benefit society. Hollander & Breen published The Responsibility Revolution in 2010, and in 2011 Sanford published The Responsible Business. These texts are markers of change as company strategies shifted from sharing a small proportion of profits to doing business in ways that create social value for communities, workers, customers and the environment. In 2011, Porter (of cluster theory) and Kramer published a paper in the Harvard Business Review on “Creating Shared Value.” At the heart of the concept and practice of shared value is the premise that the competitiveness of a company and the health of the communities that live around it are mutually dependent.
The proverb “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” has become a meme. The oldest English-language use of the proverb has been found in Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie’s novel, Mrs. Dymond (1885), in a slightly different form: “…if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish, you do him a good turn.”
Creating shared value or teaching a woman to fish requires resources, and philanthropy often plays an important part in creating social value. Corporates have the resources and capacity to engage without looking to others for funding, but not-for-profits, charities and community organisations generally do not – they have to look to aid programmes and charitable donations to teach a woman or man to fish.
When we travel, we can choose to put something back to benefit the communities we encounter; we can give fish or teach people to fish. If we do the latter, our philanthropy has a greater impact. There is an example of this approach in The Gambia. The Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia is launching a new course, “No Woman Left Behind”, for young women who have been exploited, trafficked or treated badly at the hands of others. Fatou’s story speaks for all
“I was trafficked to Lebanon with the expectation that I was going to get a good job there. However, it was a different thing because when I got there I was working as a housemaid and a nanny, in which, I struggled so hard and it was so difficult for 3 years. My contract was supposed to end in 3 years but I escaped after the first year because I worked from 7am to 2am and I was treated inhumanely. When this project came my way, I was very happy to full fill my dreams because it’s a scholarship. The project, No Woman Left Behind, fulfilled my dream to have something I always wanted to do in life and I will have a skill and be certificated at the end of the project. The project also helped me to form an association to help other girls who returned back to the Gambia after being trafficked.”
The course has been running successfully for a year, funded by an international donor agency without local ties, their priorities have changed. The tourism industry is weak after a very long peiod behind closed borders as a defence against Covid.
Students learn skills in cooking, pastry, food processing and small business skills together with an understanding of their human rights.
The first year was an outstanding success – the students have learnt cooking, hygiene and patisserie skills and benefitted from the mentoring of many Gambian women involved in the hospitality industry – next year the course will develop a greater understanding of the skills needed to start a business – survive and then thrive.
The goal is to ensure that they will learn skills and resilience techniques so that they and their children will not be exploited in the future.
The course is an experiential learning – learning by doing – course – so we need lots of practical exercises and in the future ITTOG, the college running this programme, plan to support the students starting their own micro-enterprises by enabling them to use college facilities and resources – there is already an equipped kitchen provided for the first phase of the project. This 8-week course for 30 women will cost £4000. This course will give these women a real chance to learn new skills, to help them make their own way in life and to become self-reliant for themselves and their children.
Can you help with a donation or even a regular donation to help us meet our initial target?
If you can then please donate here.
PeopleandPlaces is looking for volunteers to help contribute to course content and deliver some of that course content – rest assured if you feel you do not have presentation or classroom skills your help in creating course content – be it in country or through or e-volunteer programme – will be invaluable.
If you’d like to learn more about this programme and how you can help, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org