Diversion and inclusion for entrepreneurs in The Gambia
This week, the Origin team caught up with our friend and colleague Isatou Ceesay in The Gambia.
We have been working with Isatou on her women's empowerment program under Women's Initiative Gambia. She explains it has been their dream for years to link their already established work with access to capital for their entrepreneurs.
She describes the struggle for the kind, motivated disabled women of The Gambia to work, succeed and be seen by the community for their true value and presence. Previously rejected by the communities to which they were born and value so much, they sought support and inspiration at Women's Initiative Gambia and with this inspirational female leader.
Isatou offers such women of disability an opportunity to study locally directed entrepreneurship, business creation and financial skills. She performs this alongside her work tree planting in schools and educating the next generation around environmental sustainability and what we can all pragmatically do about it.
However, this catch up was about the mindsets, she explains.
'You need to understand, the money Origin contributed, it has allowed us to pursue our dream that we could not get to for years. The women's mindsets have changed as a result of someone believing in them, willing to give them access to money. The positive psychological affects of this work is fantastic, really.'
Origin donated profits to the tune of £1000 in April with which W.I.G has established an interest-free, well supported and well governed community loans system for the disabled women. These are the future's female leaders with ideas, motivation and drive to make it work and see it through.
With holistic and ongoing support, the women are further empowered to pursue their concepts without the risk of going into unmanageable debt. Speaking to Isatou, learning from her experiences and those around her, you don't really need to go on to work out if this is what Origin should be doing but if you do:
Link this to the evidence: Provided by research such as the Young Lives Study observing the key determinants to child poverty in 12,000 study children, their families and their classmates, research institutes, universities and NGOs in four study countries as well as Nobel Prize Winning Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee's extensive ongoing committed research to poverty alleviation at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, the latest evidence points to a number of beneficial actions but none more so than offering entrepreneurship opportunity to female leaders from genuine poverty backgrounds with a co-existing training initiative.
Origin, as a clothing brand, is doing this and, make no mistake, your purchase of Origin clothing makes this work happen. And to think, the alternative is a cheaper T shirt from Primark which might last you a whole season ; )
So, from the latest graduates at Women's Initiative Gambia, Isatou herself and the Origin team, thank you for showing your purchasing choices can have a positive impact.
p.s Keep an eye out for our upcoming collaboration with a UK-based accessible fashion brand to champion diversity and inclusion within the industry