A work and educational program for unemployed youth.
Starting 2019 Sabab Lou and its Gambian partner organization, the Rural Development Organization (RDO), implement a new work and educational program for unemployed youth and returned migrants. The project takes place in the North Bank region of The Gambia and aims to provide the Gambian youth with a realistic income perspective with agricultural activities, such as vegetable gardening and other related business activities.
In a two year long course we will train 80 young Gambians in vegetable gardening and related professional fields. According to the plan, 400 young people will have completed such training in ten years. In addition to the theoretical training, the students will work in the new NGO garden of the RDO. They will learn and practice all aspects along the value chain – from planting the vegetables up to selling them, but also processing them.
For the physical space, which is needed for the vegetable garden of the RDO as well als schooling and living facilities, the community of Ballingho, located on the banks of the Gambia river near Farafenni, has transferred an area of about 12.5 hectares to the RDO for a period of 100 years. A solar pumping and irrigation system will enable a year-round cultivation. A building complex with working, teaching and sleeping areas serves to train and accommodate the students.
“”There are so many initiatives in Gambia, everyone is doing a project, everyone is fueling the aid industry, but we are doing business!” (Suwaibou Cham, Chairman des Advisory Board, Rural Development Organization)
With this project we follow a strictly entrepreneurial approach. After three years, we expect the project to finance itself. In order to achieve this the RDO will enter into commercial vegetable farming. The revenues generated on the market serve to maintain the project as well as to finance the extensions of the project in the future.
The project has the full support of the Gambian government, and all measures have been developed in a joint effort with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education.
The project is sustainable in the best sense. Socially sustainable, because it enables young people to become their own entrepreneurs and earn a living. Economically sustainable, because it will be self sustaining after two years and can be reissued elsewhere. Ecologically sustainable, because it builds on solar energy and organic fertilization and pest control.