250 Gambian youth engaged in employment-intensive works to support key sectors of national economy

The ILO has implemented the project “Employment Creation for Youth to Build Sustainable Peace in The Gambia” financed by the Government of Japan, and completed its two major components. The project has successfully generated employment opportunities for young people in road infrastructure development, which contributes to the circulation of local economies. The project is now set to implement the last component of the rehabilitation of the Sami Karantaba Mixed Farming Center. All the works conducted by the young participants are closely linked to the tourism, fishery, and agricultural sectors respectively, which will act as strong economic drivers for the country.


The Government of Japan signed an agreement with the ILO in 2018 to support youth employment and build stability and peace in The Gambia. This new project was expected to support jobs for youth through infrastructure works with local resources, skills training and entrepreneurship promotion, with a strong focus on returnees and women.

Project Objectives

In accordance with the agreed terms, the ILO responded to the needs of youth in order to restore their hope in the country by providing women, men, people with disability as well as returnees from irregular migration equal and also immediate opportunities for paid jobs and trainings within their own country, as well as entrepreneurship support which would enable young people to start up their own businesses with acquired skills and experiences for sustained outcomes. As such, the ILO decided to provide the support in the driving sectors of the country’s economy through the creation of immediate jobs in infrastructure development with the international standard of decent work. The project targeted young people between 18 to 35 years of age, skilled or unskilled, with or without educational backgrounds.

In accordance with continuous consultations with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) of the Gambia and other relevant stakeholders, the project applied Employment-Intensive methods of road and facility construction, rehabilitation and maintenance to generate immediate jobs in support of (1) tourism, (2) fishery, and (3) agricultural sectors, which altogether account for the big majority of the Gambia’s total GDP. The project partnered with the Community Road Empowerment (CORE), an International NGO prominent in its local resource-based road construction technology called “Do-Nou” which in Japanese stands for wrapping soil in a gunny bag.

The project further identified (1) Kotu (Banjul) promenade road construction and rehabilitation for the tourism sector, (2) Gunjur harbour access road construction and rehabilitation for the fishery sector, and (3) Sami Karantaba mixed farming centre for the agricultural sector as three areas of the project intervention. The Kotu promenade road was expected to serve as a key route for tourists from the nearby hotels to the Bertil Harding highway which is one of the major roads in Banjul. The road was unpaved and tourists were not able to use it in fear of it collapsing. The Gunjur access road from the highway to the landing site of the harbour was expected to serve as a transportation means for the fish suppliers and buyers. Sami Karantaba mixed farming center is an agricultural training facility for the local communities to introduce new farming methods for their sustainable livelihood. The center has been abandoned and inactive since approximately 3 years ago.

The project also incorporated the Gambia’s “National Development Plan 2018-2021” which places an emphasis on youth employment and skills development, as well as MSME development. The National Development Plan also clearly states the necessity to encourage the development of labour-intensive technologies that promote employment.

Achievements to Date

1 Awareness Raised on Occupational Health and Safety (OSH)

The project held a 3-day theoretical and practical training for trainers on OSH in the construction sector at the onset, in close collaboration with MOTIE, Department of Labour, and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI). Another training for 55 trainers was offered through the ILO’s Work Improvement in Small Construction Sites (WISCON) tool to equip them with necessary knowledge on decent work conditions. These young trainers and trainees benefitted from an insurance package against accidents and medical incidences, and were also remunerated.

The Gambian trainers trained through these schemes then provided 1-day OSH trainings at the project sites in both Kotu and Gunjur. These trainings raised awareness among the participating workers on the importance of OSH in the construction works where there is a higher risk than the other sectors.

2 Promenade Road Construction and Rehabilitation Completed in Kotu (Tourism Sector)

125 young women and men completed the construction and rehabilitation of the 1.2 km promenade road. Of 125 young people who participated in the work, 62 were female, 30 were returnees of migration, and 10 workers had a disability of hearing.

Entrepreneurial skills trainings were offered and the participants acquired knowledge on how to start up their own businesses. As a result, 98 young people formed and initiated an enterprise on road construction and maintenance. The enterprise was successfully registered by the county as “Community Road Development Maintenance (CODEM)” and is actively seeking business opportunities from the government, private sector, as well as donor agencies by demonstrating their established skills and experiences gained from the project. Those young people who participated in the project have become job creators as opposed to job seekers. 

The road is now enjoyed by tourists for bird watching, cycling and jogging. With the tourism sector being a major contributor to the country’s GDP and tourists active especially in the wider Banjul area, the impact of the road accessibility improvement for tourists is estimated to be high.

3 Landing Site Access Road Construction and Rehabilitation in Gunjur (Fishery Sector)

The 2.5km access road construction and rehabilitation, which was undertaken by 125 young people from the neighbouring community in Gunjur is now complete. The project also placed an importance on gender equality for the recruitment process, and achieved the ratio of 65 female and 60 male workers.

The completed road has increased the accessibility of merchants to reach the harbour area where activities such as fishing, fish smoking, and vegetable gardening take place. With the access to the landing site and the markets by vehicles possible even during the rainy season, the now frequently used new road is estimated to stimulate the local economy through trades within and outside the Gambia.

Current Activities

The rehabilitation works of the mixed farming center in Sami Karantaba in support of the local agricultural sector is expected to commence in May 2019. Local young people who will participate in the rehabilitation of the center will benefit not only from the immediate work and income from the rehabilitation work itself, but also from the active trainings that will be offered by trainers from the Ministry of Agriculture once the project is complete. The mixed farming center will serve as a farmer field school where new farming techniques and best practices will be taught to the local community, who will in turn apply such new techniques in their respective gardens and cereal farms to improve productivity and enhance their livelihood.