By Edward Francis Dalliah
The Girls for the Future Foundation (GFTF) under the leadership of its founder and President Ms Priscilla H.D Dunn commenced a two-day Rural-Urban Girls’ summit at Metzy Residence Hotel on 20th October 2023. The summit was convened under the theme “Bridging the gap for tomorrow’s women”.
In her opening remarks, President Ms Dunn welcomed delegates to the summit and highlighted that “young girls across all the six regions of the Gambia” had convened to discuss common challenges and possible solutions to address them.
The organisation aims to interrogate some of the societal challenges which make it difficult for women to progress, thereby creating gaps in gender equality evidenced in the low level of women’s participation in society. Some of the challenges noted include unemployment, early marriage and unwanted pregnancy which can change women’s lives if not addressed appropriately.
Ms Dunn revealed how she battled with unemployment after completing her degree programme and in response overcame the challenge by continuously improving herself and refusing to give up in the face of adversity. Her experience encouraged her to establish the “Girls for the Future Foundation” to help more young women through similar societal challenges.
With support from her family and friends, she was able to set up the foundation, which is celebrating its 10th year anniversary with its maiden Rural-Urban Summit. Her story continues to inspire the 300 young ladies who graced the summit and those they continue to support.
The Director of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education Directorate, Ms Anna Nancy Mendy, delivered the keynote speech on behalf of the Minster of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE). During her speech, she noted that “MoBSE is proud [of the work] the Foundation” is doing and assured them that they will continue collaborating with them. She concluded her statement by unveiling the new GFTF logo.
The Minister for Gender Children and Social Welfare Hon. Fatou Kinteh, also graced the opening ceremony of the summit and her Ministry’s support when she noted that their doors are open for the Foundation which includes sharing their “action plan for 2024”.
The Foundation’s success story in supporting young women was further cemented when two of its ambassadors Ya Njie Jobe and Jatou Mbye took the podium to share their experience of how the foundation moulded them. The two GFTF Ambassadors revealed that after attending a mentorship and skill training course organised by the Foundation their lives changed drastically.
Speaking about their individual success, Ms Ya Njie highlighted that she is now a soap maker thanks to the foundation and “supplies her products to hotels”. In addition, she thanked her mentors for the efforts and time they sacrificed for them. Similarly, Ms Jatou Mbye, explained how she turned to entrepreneurship through the foundation’s support which “absolutely changed her life”, adding that she “experienced a transformation” that she was not expecting of herself. According to her narration in her first days “of joining the programme, she was shy and [was not] sure of herself”, however, “with the incredible guidance and support from mentors, friends and mother [she] found [her] voice”.
The success story of the GFTF foundation should serve as an inspiration to many young ladies because where there is life, there is hope.
Anna Sarr, a person living with a disability who benefitted from the foundation’s efforts also took the stage to deliver a vote of thanks and extended her appreciation to all the delegates who graced the summit while commending the mentors who helped to guide them. More photos are available in the link below.