Ataya Attire empowering young women in the Gambia

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A British born Jamaican and now Senegalese entrepreneur Saadiya Sy has recently initiated a project called Attaya Attire.  The project is expected to create an environment where economic growth and poverty reduction will be promoted through enhancing 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 (making luxury accessories and home wears from waste materials like plastic and rubber). The project is also expected to empower thousands of young women in the country especially those in the rural communities.

Speaking to this reporter, Saadiya expressed grave concern on some of the issues affecting young people in the country.She emphasized her commitment to create more opportunities for young women.

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

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

“Our target is to work with women between the ages of 18-32 years in tailoring and weaving. The idea is to make luxury accessories and home wears from waste materials. This will help to improve the waste management system and create business opportunities for women.”

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

The initiative 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 material.

The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in the world with a per capita 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 counterpart, as they lag behind in all spheres of development. 

The 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 only able to meet 55 percent of the credit needs of women in the Gambia.