Women’s empowerment volunteer programme off to a great start

Women’s empowerment volunteer programme off to a great start

Earlier this year I wrote about the women’s empowerment programme we are working with in The Gambia

Click on the image above to read my previous post

The association has come so far in the last 6 months – here’s an update

  • The Association is registered and has a social media presence – take a look here
  • The team have catered their first event – feeding 30 delegates on an education training session for 10 days
  • They have undertaken extensive market research to better understand their opportunities and challenges with the help of Ellie
  • They won their first pastries commissions
  • They have built relationships with other women’s cooperatives
  • They will open a shop in January 2023
  • They have a business plan
  • Fatou, Bintou and Musu (three of their executive) have been trained in costings and budgeting.

And hot off the press and very exciting – funding for the second year of the course to cover simple business skills is now guaranteed for 2023 (the funders withdrew this money in 2022 due to budget cuts)

Volunteer Linda volunteered from home on our e-volunteer programme to help Fatou and the team with costings and budgeting.

Volunteer Ellie travelled to The Gambia to work with Fatou and the NWLB team – she worked with them on market research, their business plan and team work – and much much more

Thankyou Linda and Ellie for your hard work and support.

Here are some extracts from the No Woman Left Behind business plan

No Woman Left Behind organization sets out to provide a successful catering service to The Gambia, whilst simultaneously furthering women in their education and business success. It is our goal to grow the business and therefore help the women grow too. We aim to become one of the biggest catering services in The Gambia in the next 2 years. We want to first have our business in every region of The Gambia. Then in the future to expand to multiple other African countries.


  • To provide improved employability of the members. When the business will grow, NWLB will be able to offer more women a good employment.
  • To take part in training programmes & opportunities to further the business and the women.
  • To provide labor-saving devices to support the women in their business ventures.
  • Conduct functional literacy programmes for members to improve their reading and writing skills.
  • Set up a shop where NWLB could sell fresh local produce, as well as cooked meals and expand the business.
  • Continue to do catering and open a pastry shop, as well as selling them to third parties. 

We believe that every woman in NWLB can have her own business and grow in the future.

We can also help other women outside of NWLB to be empowered.

We wish to have more learning experiences ourselves and to help other women to have those too.

Our valuable knowledge and skills gained in the past can be put back into the business.

We work by experience.

How can you help? Here are a few ideas

  • Production of Publicity and packaging materials
  • Help with marketing NWLB to appropriate internal markets
  • Basic book keeping, costing and cash management
  • Help NWLB in its fundraising and business proposal reports
  • Story telling
  • Marketing videos
  • Organisation skills
  • Human resource skills
  • Life skills such as problem solving and planning
  • Social Media
  • IT skills
  • Business language and terminology (though all the executive speak quite good English, it is their second or third language and they have not been exposed to “business speak”)

They are accomplished cooks – they just need our support and encouragement.

“The main thing the Gambian women wanted to learn about was how to cost their menus. I slowly helped them to understand that they had to cover not only the cost of the ingredients for the food they were cooking and selling, but also take account of all other expenses and make sure that they were charging enough to make a profit on top of covering all outgoings. I stressed the need to keep detailed financial records and we worked together to cost lots of the individual dishes they cook and sell and I tried to make sure they really understood the principles, so they could apply their learning to costing any future menu item. I sent lots of sample calculations and written summaries of we what had discussed to the Gambian women via WhatApp; I also sent them arithmetic questions on costings and similar topics for them to practise their skills.” volunteer Linda

“For me the highlight was meeting people who really give their all to improve things for their country and help other people, despite coming up against many challenges. They have inspired me to push myself to do more to change things for the better too. I also really enjoyed the opportunity to visit the farms all around the country and speak to the women working there. I found out so much about life in The Gambia.” Volunteer Ellie

Could you help them? – then please email dianne@travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk

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