Story: Young Gambians lead the way to safety (en)

8 juin 2020
ITC Nouvelles
Creativity, leadership and entrepreneurial drive of young Gambians give a glimmer of hope in the midst of the crisis.

Innovative protection: 3D-printed face shields

"It's almost midnight and I found time to have dinner just now. My craft is my passion. Providing creative solutions gives me so much joy". Ndey Fatou Njie's enthusiasm is still fresh after a long day.

She has joined hands with a group of young fashion entrepreneurs and women groups in rural Gambia who are working hard to give back to their communities by turning towards producing facemasks.

Three training centers where youth acquire tailoring skills are now coming handy to help meet the urgent demand for protective facemasks.  This support to entrepreneurs and institutions is not only creating opportunities to mitigate the economic impact but also reinforcing COVID-19 precautionary measures for the public.

In addition to hand made facemasks, Make3D Company Ltd, is producing and testing 3D printed protective gear in partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The protective equipment will support MRC in its work with plans and plans are under way to extend the support to other medical facilities.

These efforts will go a long way in containing the infection and building resilience in rural areas in the country with an opportunity for everyone to give back to communities.

The COVID-10 health and socio-economic crisis has hit The Gambia very hard and it will take time to recover.

Young entrepreneurs fixing new problems

"Entrepreneurs in the right state of mind and good health can run a good business. You want to be that entrepreneur. Stay safe, stay home and protect yourself and your love ones."

This is the main message that goes out every evening on a live radio talk show and reaches youth across North, Central, Upper and Lower Bank Regions. The Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC) produces the radio show. The Chamber is an umbrella body and voice of young entrepreneurs in The Gambia - a trade support organisation that empowers young entrepreneurs and help improve their earnings.

The rural reach has helped with creating awareness among 500 young fishermen, vegetable growers and processors traders at ferry crossings and in rural markets. At the same time, GYCC helps assess the impact of the crisis on young entrepreneurs and works towards solutions that protect health while allowing commerce to continue and keeping young entrepreneurs in business. 

Youth Empowerment Project

The youth engaged in responding to COVID-19 situation have developed their capacity to engage with communities with support from the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). The project supported the procurement of 3D printing materials and equipment. Implemented by the International Trade Centre, it is part of the Tekki Fii - Make it in The Gambia Program, a flagship initiative of the Government of The Gambia and the European Union with the aim to reduce migration pressures through increased job opportunities and income prospects for youth.  YEP is funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.