By Saikou Suwareh Jabai

‘Attaya’ Attire is an initiative of WIG and it aims to improve the lives of young women in the country through skills training in tailoring and weaving, making luxury accessories and home wears from waste materials.

The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in the world with a per capita income of about US$ 350 (National Household Survey report) and a rating of 155 out of 175 countries (UNDP Human Development Index). The condition of young women in the Gambia is worse than their male counterparts, because they lag behind in all spheres of development.

Government and its partners initiated several credit programmes to boost the productive capacity of women. Some notable ones among these are the Social Development Fund (SDF), Women In Development, NGO Fund, Gambia Women Finance Association (GAWFA), Rural Finance and Community Initiative Project (RFCIP), Peri-Urban Project, NGOs such as Action Aid The Gambia (AATG), Association of Gambian Entrepreneurs (AGE) amongst others. These institutions together, are able to meet 55 percent of the credit needs of women in the Gambia.

In complimenting Government efforts and donor agencies, British born Jamaican Senegalese entrepreneur Saadiya Sy, recently initiated a project called ‘Attaya’ Attire.  The project is expected to create an enabling environment for promoting economic growth and poverty reduction through enhancing the productive capacity and social protection of young women in the country.

It will provide skills training and capacity building programs for young women in tailoring and weaving by making luxury accessories and home wears from waste materials like plastic and rubber. It is expected to empower thousands of young women in the country especially those in the rural communities.

Speaking to this reporter, Saadiya spoke with concern on some of the issues affecting young people in the country and emphasized her commitment to creating more opportunities for young women.

‘A lot of young people are marginalized especially women. This project will create more opportunities and further empower young women through capacity building and skills training programs. We are committed to helping young women in the country,’ she said.

Waste management is a burning issue in the country. In fact, it has recently form part of the political agenda of some political parties and Saadiya believes the project can play a crucial part in addressing the waste management problems in the country.

‘Our target is to work with women between the ages of eighteen and thirty-two, in tailoring and weaving. The idea is to make luxury accessories and home wears from waste materials. This on the one hand, will help to improve the waste management system and create business opportunities for women on the other,’ she posited.

The ‘Attaya’ Attire project is part of Women Initiative Gambia (W.I.G) and is founded by Isatou Ceesay. The Initiative conducts skills training, women mothers’ group programs, as well as waste collection and tree planting exercises.

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