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Interview with Oley Njie-Mbye - GAWFA CEO

Feb 25, 2011, 1:23 PM

In our Today's Edition of SHE SHE SHE, a weekly column dedicated to Gambian women's cause, we bring into the spotlight another prominent Gambian woman who has steadily contributed to the socio economic development of her motherland, The Gambia, in various institutions and capacities.

Please read below a brief account of Madam Oley Njie Mbaye's biography, and our interview. Madam Njie Mbaye is the Chief Executive Officer of The Gambia Women's Finance Association, GAWFA.

Oley Njie Mbye is a Bank Executive with over 16 years of diverse leadership experience. Educated in three continents (Africa, Europe and the U.S.A. in the Western Hemisphere), she attained her GCE 'O' levels at Muslim High School where she was the head girl and later pursued her Advance Level Certificate at St. Augustine's High School in Banjul.

Oley endured life's challenges and vicissitudes, and views them as opportunities for growth and development, even after earning a Diploma de Langue Practique from Dakar University, Senegal, and a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with Marketing and Management and a minor in French from the US.  She completed her M.Sc. degree in Social Development Policy and Management in Wales, UK.  Oley is also a Doctoral student in the field of Human Services/Public Service Leadership concentrating in Management and has attained her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) this year from the US. Ms Mbaye is currently writing her dissertation for her PhD studies.     

Oley’s coming to GAWFA is happening at a time when the  wealth of knowledge and experience she acquired, both locally and at an international level, will further enhance the establishment process, thus greatly improving the image of the finance company. She enjoys volunteer work, and has a strong passion for the advancement of women's empowerment through micro finance and institutional capacity building.

The experience she has on the ground, as a social entrepreneur in Africa and the US; the knowledge gained in public affairs from the US Federal Government, the Peace Corps and in Resolution Management with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO); and the special skills and competencies that she brings in on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment are all a plus. Her leadership experience in banking as a Branch Manager/Asst vice president with Fortune 500 banks in the US is an added value not only to GAWFA, but the Gambia in general.   

Apart from being bi-lingual, her ability and understanding of the local languages in the country further prepares her for the kind of assignment she was hired for.

Above all, she has an open door policy, which encourages a free flow of information and communication in her work place.

Below is the full text of the interview SHE SHE SHE had with Oley:

SHE SHE SHE: Just recently, you launched the GAWFA Finance Company. What are the services and products you have?

Oley: GAWFA Finance Company is still an NGO and has established a finance company with the aim to sustain the organization into institutional level. We provide savings and credit facilities to our valuable clients.

SHESHE SHE:  Is it exclusively for women?

Oley: It depends on the products, and the credit product is exclusively for women, but the savings products are open for everyone, but 96% of the clients are women.

SHE SHE SHE: What type of class of women benefit from your services?

Oley: Most times, GAWFA encourages micro entrepreneurs are to be economically independent, self sufficient. It promotes empowerment through capacity building for the women that have been members. Many of them benefitted, and have become successful entrepreneurs after GAWFA gave them training in small business management, entrepreneurs skills and basic business, book keeping and simple accounting principles, management and best practices in business.

SHE SHE SHE: What are the conditions of loans that the company gives to women?

Oley: You have to be a member, and have a savings account. If you want to have a loan, it is based on the amount of loan, and depends on how much was deposited in your savings account.

SHE SHE SHE: What advice do you have for the young girls?

Oley: Well, the advice that I have for them is to be determined and elegant, and be goal oriented. They need to realize that in life there are so many opportunities, and you have to be positive to ensure that education tops their agenda. I am also encouraging them to buy GAWFA shares, which are just as low as only D10.00.

SHE SHE SHE: Any final word?

Oley: Well, Im very honored and privileged, once more, to be GAWFA CEO, and very grateful to the board and staff of GAWFA.  I am motivated by the achievement of advancement of Gambian women over the years, thanks to the dynamic leadership of His Excellency Sheikh Prof. Yayah AJJ Jammeh and also Her Excellency the Vice President Madam Isatou Njie Saidy.

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