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Adama Jatta and the Violence Against Girls Association

My Magazine 2023/02
5 min
Adama Jatta is an enthusiastic young entrepreneur and the founder of Violence Against Girls, the association established in 2015 to support the fight for the rights of young girls and women as they are most vulnerable in The Gambian society.

Adama strives to uplift the aspirations of the young ones at the grassroots level, thereby causing better opportunities for them and making their voices heard globally. Adama often travels to the village to see her mother and often sees girls getting married at 12 or 13. These young girls have no skills or education to support themselves in their new homes. Their livelihood depends solely on the man who they marry.

Adama decided to offer her skills and knowledge to empower these young women and girls in urban and rural areas. By doing so, she makes them capable of supporting themselves and their family. Since the association’s inception, Violence Against Girls has organised many workshops, training 10 to 20 girls each session. The girls are taught different skills, such as batik, tie-dye, crocheting, knitting, weaving and soap-making. These workshops have changed many girls’ lives in rural and urban areas since training enables them to start their own businesses or join women's associations and become self-sufficient.

Violence Against Girls collaborates with National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) to train more girls from Barra to Albreda. The partnership also aims to ensure the diversity of items sold in the craft markets, which offer similar products everywhere. They want to include traditionally made products, which would be interesting for the visitors. Handmade products from mostly natural ingredients using traditional techniques are slowly being forgotten. So this is not only a way of acquiring new skills but also of keeping the knowledge of traditional methods alive.

Adama teaches these girls different tie-dye techniques, which bring out different designs and colours. They learn how to make colours using natural materials such as cola nuts, onion skin, tree bark, etc. They are making soaps using neem tree seeds and more.

The association is a non-profitable organisation with no subsidy. They often face financial struggles, and Adama often helps with her own finances, as much as she can, to keep things going. She enjoys teaching and feels everybody can do something to improve this world.

In January this year, Violence Against Girls, in collaboration with the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) with funding from the Migration and Sustainable Development in The Gambia (MSDG), launched a new project called Skills Empowerment of Women in The Arts and Heritage for women, especially young girls in Barra, Juffureh, and Albreda communities. Skills training provides a higher level of self-reliance and deviation from considering going on the backway journey yet establishing themselves in their respective communities.

Yet this is only part of what Adama does. She has her workshop in Talinding, where she offers classes to anyone interested. She obtained most of her skills at the Bakoteh skill centre but later decided to continue on her own. Nothing stops her. She knows she doesn’t have to wait for anybody to do what she wants to do. And this is why many girls today are more self-sufficient than they would be if Adama hadn’t decided to take on the role of the teacher.

In the next five years, the vision for the association is to grow bigger, obtain a production studio where they will produce and export their products, sell them abroad and use the profit to support and empower young girls.

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