Career Prospects for Returnees

Ballingho, Gambia

In relation to its population, the Gambia has the highest rate of emigration in sub-Saharan Africa. This is certainly due to the yoke of longstanding dictatorship, but also to the dramatic lack of prospects. Without mineral resources and significant production, the country is dependent on tourism and agriculture as an economic factor. Traditional subsistence farming did not offer an option. Young people in particular preferred to risk the “backway”, the illegal route to Europe. They had nothing to lose.
Since the repatriation agreement between the EU, IOM and Gambia in July 2018, many migrants have been repatriated. With youth unemployment at over 40%, this places a further burden on the labour market. Add to this the fear and shame of ‘not having made it’ and repatriated migrants are seen as failures.
The Gambian youth project offers perspectives for unemployed young people and migrants in agriculture.


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Ballingho, Gambia

Frankfurter Sparkasse 1822
IBAN: DE89 5005 0201 0200 0292 23

Project Coordinator


Edith Lanfer, Germany


Details & Successes

Sabach Sukoto, Gambia

The Sabab Lou Foundation has proven over 9 years in Gambia that there is potential in the agricultural sector. Cooperatives in the North Bank region of Gambia are engaged in professional vegetable cultivation and have been able to free themselves from the poverty trap. And the possibilities are far from exhausted. The growing tourism industry demands high quality vegetables, the demand can currently only be met by imports from neighbouring countries and Europe. The hotel operators would be happy and willing to offer products from their own country.

This is where the youth project comes in. In a two-year dual training course, young people between the ages of 15 and 30 are trained in agricultural and related professions. The training includes vegetable growing, livestock breeding, poultry farming, fruit growing, food processing, landscaping, marketing, transport, product development, sales, catering and much more.

The theoretical instruction covers not only the technical requirements, but also training in all aspects of professional business development. Market analysis, customer care, data construction, calculation, accounting, business planning, to name but a few areas.
With the support of the help alliance this aspect in particular is promoted. Management trainees from different departments of the Lufthansa Group teach the business modules. The enthusiasm of the young people about quality and implementation speaks for the importance of this assignment. Even more, the Gambian young people experience the appreciation as future entrepreneurs. They take up the offered perspective with an unusual willingness to perform and work hard.

In addition to modern agricultural technology, resource-conserving organic farming, demand-oriented sequential cultivation and a planned product range, it is above all the practical and theoretical training adapted to the local conditions and the level of education of the young people which means real prospects for the future.
The young people are housed in a building complex in the middle of a 12.5 hectare garden area. Board and lodging are free, and they also receive a scholarship, half of which is paid out monthly and half of which is saved for them until after their graduation. It amounts to about 30 Euro per month.
Surprising is the extraordinary good atmosphere in the camp, it seems to be more than just a place of education. It is appreciation, talent development and self-discovery. Freed from family and social structures, they can prove their skills here, an experience they will never let go.

Facts & Figures


Project Location

Ballingho, Gambia