Friday, May 27, 2011

‘President Jammeh’s women empowerment initiatives motivated me to come back home,’ Says GAWFA Boss

In an interview with, the Chief Executive Officer of the Gambia Women’s Finance Association (GAWFA), said President Jammeh’s women empowerment initiatives motivated her to come back home.

Oley Njie-Mbye, who has been in the US for more than a decade, observes that there have been “lots of women empowerment initiatives in The Gambia since 1994”.
Mrs Njie-Mbye gave a comparison of Gambia before and during the era of President Yahya Jammeh. She said: “When I was in The Gambia, before I went to the US, I did not see these much positive impact in development and empowerment of women but since the coming of the Jammeh administration there have been more positive contributions and development towards the advancement of women.”
Most of these developments are self-evident, she says, adding that the government has registered significant achievements by putting in place legislative policies and strategies that support the empowerment of women and the girl child in an environment of equity, fair play and justice.

Women have and continued to occupy key decision-making positions in the Jammeh administration over the past 16 years, and the GAWFA CEO believes the contribution of this trend to nation building is “immeasurable”.

“We cannot sit here and mention all, it’s evident. We have seen that there are more women in parliament now, more women are economically active now, and more women are empowered now than 16 years ago,” she said.

“These efforts really caught my attention with much enthusiasm and motivated me more to take the courage and make a decision to return home and contribute to the development of our beloved nation.”

The level of women empowerment in the country “is quite amazing, motivational, and inspiring” not only for her but also for many Gambians living abroad, Mrs Njie-Mbye says.

“This is why I decided to come back home to contribute in the little way I can towards the advancement and empowerment of Gambian women and together we can build the nation,” she explained. “When I was writing my Master’s degree I wrote about microfinance in The Gambia, though I had an option; I could have written about where I was (the US.) to make it easy for me to complete,  but because I have an intention to come back home, I decided to write about my own country. Similarly, my doctorate also, I decided to write about the NGOs and the economic empowerment of Gambian women.”

The finance and business guru said further: “So I am ready to give everything I could, I am ready to help and volunteer in many areas that I can to complement the government’s efforts towards the empowerment of women and national development.

“I was born and bred in an environment of social entrepreneurship where you can be an entrepreneur at the interest of the society. My mother was an entrepreneur. Even though I have worked in the corporate world, and I have a regular full time job, I can still contribute, mentor and help women in many capacities to contribute in their advancement.”

Profile of GAWFA CEO

Oley Njie Mbye is a bank executive with over 16 years of diverse leadership experiences. Before acquiring her higher education at universities in Africa, Europe and USA, Oley attained her GCE O’ level certificate at Muslim High School where she was the Head Girl and later pursued her Advance Level Certificate at St. Augustine’s High School.

Oley enjoys life’s challenges and vicissitudes and views them as opportunities for growth and development, even after earning a Diploma de Langue Practique from Dakar University, Senegal, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with Marketing and Management concentration and a minor in French from Coker College, Hartsville, South Carolina, the US.

She completed her MSc degree in Social Development Policy and Management in Swansea University, Wales, the UK.

Oley is also a doctoral student in the field of Human Services and Public Service Leadership concentrating on Management and has attained her PhD Certificate of Advance Graduate Studies (CAGS) this year from the US.

The experience she has on the ground as a social entrepreneur in Africa and the US; the knowledge gained in public affairs from the US Federal Government, the Peace Corps and in Resolution Management with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO); and the special skills and competence that she brings in on gender equity and women empowerment are all plus to GAWFA and the women empowerment drive in the country.

Apart from being bi-lingual, her ability and understanding of the local languages in the country further prepares her for the kind of assignment for which she has been hired. Above all, she has an open door policy which encourages a free flow of information and communication in her workplace.

She enjoys volunteer work and has a strong passion in the advancement of women empowerment through micro-finance and institutional capacity building.

Oley has therefore joined GAWFA with a wealth of knowledge and experience acquired both at the local and the international levels. This, it is believed, will further enhance the growth and development and image of the new finance company under the auspices of GAWFA.


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