We’re happy to share the incredible Hear Her Story album, the result of our very exciting #TYWArtvocacy project, funded by UNICEF The Gambia. This project brought together 10 Gambian artists, and together, we explored the use of the arts (music and poetry) to inspire change to end FGM and Child Marriage.
The album comprises a total of 6 songs and 1 spoken word poetry piece, each one communicating the need to protect children from violence and commit to ending harmful cultural practices like Female Genital Mutilation and Child Marriage.
Enjoy the songs!
Think Young Women would like to thank all the artists involved in this project: A2 The Fulani King, Awa Bling, Bai Babu, Barhama, Bobo Diimo, Cess Ngum, Mariam Cham, Sophia, TSmallz, Fatima Gomez, and Pa Omar Jack.
We also thank Brand Plus for a stellar job in facilitating the artists to deliver quality results.
Gambian football star Bubacarr Steve Trawally has made a donation of $500 to Think Young Women, as part of his philanthropic contributions to development in The Gambia.
Steve was recently awarded the Chinese Super League’s Most Valuable Player, which came with a $5000 cash prize. He made a decision to donate the full amount to charity organisations in The Gambia, and TYW was one of those selected to benefit from his benevolence.
The donation will contribute to our fundraising targets for this year, including for the recently-launched Sanitary Pad Drive for the girls in our mentorship programme. We are grateful for this boost to our efforts to facilitate access to sexual and reproductive health services and products for the girls.
We look forward to further collaborations, and wish him more success in his career.
Ending FGM requires a multi-faceted approach, at the heart of which lies community engagement for sustainable impact. Our team is in the Upper River Region for a week, leading intensive community sensitization on Female Genital Mutilation. The activity targets communities in all districts of URR, with an aim to raise awareness on the dangers of FGM and inspire a shift to voluntary abandonment of the practice.
For the past three days, we have enjoyed the warm reception and goodwill of the leaders and people of Sandu and Jimara districts.
Our conversations focus on socio-cultural complexities, health complications, religious perspectives and the legal provisions relating to FGM in The Gambia, and are led by trained professionals in each domain. We are actively listening to the views of the people in these communities and working with them to find ways of appreciating our beautiful cultures and traditions while leaving behind practices that can be detrimental to the well-being of girls and women.
Again, we renew our appreciation to UNFPA The Gambia for investing in youth and supporting this activity. We’re grateful for all the support we have received as we work to end FGM, one community at a time.
Since inception, we have supported and partnered with various organisations in and outside The Gambia, in our work to advance the cause of women, and ensure the respect and fulfillment of the rights of women and girls. These partnerships have strengthened the impact of our work, and helped us to reach often marginalised groups with much-needed interventions and information.
In collaboration with our sister organisation The Girls’ Agenda, and with funding from UNFPA The Gambia, we successfully completed a training on teenage pregnancy and other forms of gender-based violence, targeting out-of-school girls and young mothers in the Central River Region. Participants were drawn from all districts in the region, and included victims and survivors of GBV, in various forms.
Education is empowerment. Together, we can protect women and girls and end all forms of GBV.
As part of our #TYW4Girls Mentorship Programme, we have open discussions on sexual and reproductive health with the girls. Our session last week centered on menstruation, and we learned that some of the girls face challenges with access to sanitary products during menstruation.
Today, we come asking for your support to provide sanitary pads to the girls who need them. One pad, one pack,one box, can make a huge difference and enable the girls to smash the shame that surrounds menstruation. Will you help us?
If in The Gambia, you can support this cause through the different avenues on the flyer below.
As part of our #EndFGM project with AmplifyChange, we have successfully completed an art competition, targeting school children in the Greater Banjul Area. After a day’s training on key messages to end FGM, the students used their artistic talents to depict their thoughts on FGM and the role they can play to end the practice.
The winners John Martin Monday, Sheriff Newlands, and Fatou Kalleh were awarded prizes in the form of school materials, as well as certificates of recognition. Their designs have been featured on billboards across the country, sharing messages to influence an end to the practice of FGM.
Young people have a unique opportunity to end Female Genital Mutilation in a generation. This is why at Think Young Women, we focus on awareness-raising, capacity building and meaningful engagement with youth across the country.
We thank the Principal, Staff, and Students of Gambia Methodist Academy for their engagement with us.
The last two days have been incredible! We are completely floored by the positive reception to our growing #TYWArtvocacy journey, working with Gambian artists as positive agents of change.
Together, we looked at the harmful effects of #FGM and #ChildMarriage, the sociocultural context, as well as the different ways in which we can engage with practicing communities to influence voluntary abandonment of these practices. The artists were also exposed to our ‘Do No Harm’ guidelines to ensure all messages are crafted with enough consideration to our cultural sensitivities and do not harm the targeted recipients.
The most beautiful experience has been seeing all the artists take ownership of this initiative, with strong commitments to use their voices and talents to sensitize communities and push for an end to these practices. They have already started crafting their songs, and we can’t wait to share the magic they create.
Thanks to Barhama Cham, Bai Babu, Awa Femcee Bling, A2 Di Fulani King, Sophia Byass, T Smallz Katato, Mariama Cham, Cess Ngom, Bobo Diimo and Fatima Gomez for the commitment and for sharing your incredible talent with us. Respect to Ya Sally Njie (Sista) and her BrandPlus for the excellent coordination. Many thanks to Mr Mass Laye and our sisters from The Girls’ Agenda for their contributions, too.
Our gratitude to our donors UNICEF Gambia, for bringing this concept to reality. We look forward to giving new wings to even more innovative ideas.
Today, they also joined the #Youth4Peace campaign as part of International Youth Day commemorations. Here are a few photos. Stay connected to the page for more updates on this journey.
It’s already Week 3 of the 4th session in our #TYW4Girls Mentorship Programme! This week, we discussed Gender-Based Violence, with a specific focus on Violence Against Women and Girls.
We’re working with a unique group of 80 girls from different backgrounds, and understand the realities of the society we live in, as far as gender is concerned. Guided by the mentors, the girls worked in groups to discuss GBV, its different forms, how to protect themselves, and where to go to seek help. We were pleasantly surprised by how much they already know, and inspired by their ever-growing desire to learn more.
Our exercises in trust-building last week came in handy as they worked together to determine safe spaces among their groups, in their homes and schools, and within their immediate communities. They explored the concepts of sex, gender and gender roles, and what roles they can play in breaking the cycle of inequalities that often place girls and women at a disadvantage.
As mentors, we are always happy to learn from the girls and their experiences, as this helps us to keep providing them with the support and services they need to thrive and serve their communities. Certainly creating a new generation of women leaders!
Special thanks to UNFPA The Gambia for supporting us on this journey, and to State of Mic for the fun photo session.
The 4th session of our Girls’ Mentorship Programme has started, and we’re super excited! This cohort brings together 80 girls from Gambia Methodist Academy, Ndow’s Comprehensive, Kanifing East Upper Basic and Latrikunda Upper Basic Schools.
Today, we held the first session at L.K school, where the girls and our mentors had a chance to get to know one another, discover expectations and fears, as well as create guidelines for the next three months of our journey together.
We look forward to an amazing and inspiring time as we engage on issues relating to the lives of adolescent girls, while supporting them to discover their talents and use them to serve their communities and the country. We hope that the girls will make the best use of the safe space we have created to overcome their fears, beat the challenges, and thrive.
We continue to appreciate UNFPA The Gambia for their support, and for believing in our dream and mission to inspire and create a new generation of young women leaders. You can follow weekly updates from the programme online through the #TYW4Girls hashtag.