At Santander BEST Africa we offer technical or economic support to enterprises that favour the employment of women, promote sustainability - economic, social and environmental - and contribute in an inclusive way to the development of the community.

Find out about some of the projects included in the programme.

Gambia Women’s Initiative. Gambia

The Gambia Women’s Initiative – helps to empower women in Gambia with limited resources, by developing sustainable activities which generate income, based on the protection and conservation of the natural environment. This initiative is mainly based on manufacturing handicrafts using organic waste. This project contributes towards women in Gambia being able to increase their income to improve the quality of life of their family members and their communities.

The support provided by Santander BEST AFRICA is directed at the progressive improvement of the retail point of sale for gift articles made with recycled plastic and support for the marketing and commercialization of vegetable carbon made from organic residues in hotels and restaurants on the Gambia coast

TRY Women’s Oyster Harvesting Association. Gambia

The TRY Women’s Oyster Harvesting Association was founded in 2007, aimed at uniting women who gather and process oysters from the Gambia coast, in order to increase their capacity and resources for the development of their activity. TRY has played a decisive role in women’s empowerment, who have gained recognition in Gambia as workers with full rights. 

At Santander BEST Africa, with the collaboration of GTHI, the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute of Gambia, we support the implementation of a pilot training in food security and a pilot training in customer service, both aimed at an initial group of 100 female members of the Association. The development of the two pilot training programmes will serve as the basis for the extension of the programme to the more than 500 oyster gatherers participating in TRY across different areas of the Gambian coast. This training, provided by GTHI, will help improve the quality of the marketed products and the customer service provided by the Association.

Care for Natural. Gambia

In 2001, the entrepreneur Claudette Sarr-Krook began to produce dairy products out of her own kitchen in Kololi. Very soon, thanks to the great success of her business, she built a small factory and began to supply her products to supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. The factory now employs 12 people, of whom 9 are women. The organization places a particular focus on the employment of women who have difficulty accessing the job market.

At Santander BEST Africa, with the collaboration of the GTHI, Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, we support the improvement of the design and positioning of the web and social network profiles of Care for Natural, as a resource to help increase their sales. This project includes the design of a sustainable tourism project based on a guided tour of Care for Natural's facilities in Kololi and Mariamakunda.

Kombo Beach Kambeng Kafo Fruit Sellers. Gambia

The name of the organization of fruit sellers of Kotu beach means “Women working together". All the members of the association are women. They purchase the fruit which they then sell to the tourists at the local market and at a stall belonging to the Association located on the beach of Kotu. As the tourist season in Gambia only lasts six months, the fruit sellers must face the challenge of surviving in the low season, when there are no tourists. Most of the women attempt to implement alternative business projects, however this is difficult because of the lack of access to funding.

At Santander BEST Africa, with the collaboration of GTHI, the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute, we facilitate the purchase of furniture in addition to supporting the training of women of the Association on safety and hygiene, preparation of juices and drinks based on fruit and vegetables, and accounting, applied to the management of their business.


Mama Africa Art Centre & Residence. Gambia

In addition to the accommodation facilities, Mama Africa includes a gallery focusing on Gambian art and culture with a contemporary art exhibition: paintings, sculptures, carvings and metalwork, as well as a wide selection of traditional ancient cultural assets. This is a living museum where you can experience true African culture and the inspirational power of the African women. Mama Africa is also a non-profit association, with a special focus on supporting women in vulnerable situations, with programmes targeting women and girls in education, health and economic empowerment. 

Within the framework of this project, with the collaboration of GTHI, Gambia Tourism & Hospitality Institute, we support the training of the team at Mama Africa in hotel management specialties: training in cleaning and laundry, cooking and restaurant services, and hotel administration.

Yabouy Home Cooking. Gambia

Yabouy home Cooking offers travellers an experience that includes dressing up in traditional clothing, buying the necessary ingredients for the day's meal at the Tanji market, co-preparing a specialty of Gambian cuisine, having lunch with Ida in a group, and playing games and conversing in the garden. A common dish is the so-called Benachin, a traditional speciality from the Wolof culture.  In 2013, Ida Cham also founded the Yabouy Charity, a non-profit organisation focused on improving the lives of women in the communities around Brufut, on the Gambian coast, through various economic, social and environmental activities.

From Santander BEST Africa we offer support for the marketing of Yabouy Home Cooking and the training in web applications and social networks of its team in order to help increase the hiring of its services by the hotels on the Gambian coast.

Tapalapa Bakery. Gambia

The only tapalapa-type bakery in the community of Ndemban Tenda, which was built with mud bricks and iron sheeting, collapsed after heavy rains in 2019. Since then, the population receives an irregular supply of bread. Sometimes, due to high demand, the bread runs out before the supply can reach the whole population. The Tapalapa Bakery was one of the prominent attractions for tourism in Ndemban Tenda.

In collaboration with Aethnic, we developed this project to build a traditional bakery in the rural community of Ndemban Tenda and to train a team of five women in business management and entrepreneurship, who will be selected from among the 200 members of the Nyodema Kafo Association. The aim is to revive the bakery in order to resume the production of a staple food for the population and, at the same time, turn the establishment into a tourist attraction.

Kankanba Farm. Gambia

Kankanba Farm is a center specialized in the practice of agritourism located in Sanyang. Its mission is to provide employment to members of the surrounding communities, mainly women. The paralysis of tourism activity as a consequence of the pandemic has significantly compromised the farm's mission and activities.

Santander BEST Africa developed this project in collaboration with AETHNIC and ITTOG. We intend to improve the farm's infrastructure and train 10 agrotourism guides, introducing this practice as a transforming element that contributes to maximize the positive impacts derived from the tourism activity. 


Jamali is a farming village of the Fula ethnic group located a few kilometres from Janjanbureh, a town of tourist interest because of its proximity to the Gambia River and its colonial past. In the village of Jamali, a cooperative of 25 women, Jamali Women Skill Centre, is dedicated to textile handicrafts, horticulture, and traditional cuisine. The women cook and serve local specialities to travellers visiting the village.

The project, developed with the collaboration of AETHNIC (Association of Responsible Tourism), includes training actions aimed at improving the skills of the cooperative's women in cooking and baking techniques, business management, and the construction of a traditional kitchen and oven to offer quality catering services under food safety conditions.

Organic charcoal production in The Gambia

Women’s Initiative The Gambia (WIG) helps empower poor women in The Gambia by developing economic activities based on the protection and conservation of the natural environment.  Its activities focus on the production of handicrafts from recycled plastic, the production of organic charcoal and environmental awareness.

The main objective of the project, developed in collaboration with Aethnic, the Responsible Tourism Association, is to install electricity in a WIG charcoal production plant located in Jambour Fula Kunda, on the Gambian coast. The charcoal briquettes are made from solid agricultural waste (coconut and peanut shells, cassava, or millet). The production of this type of charcoal promotes the generation of employment for poor women and protects the ecosystem by helping to avoid deforestation. The electrification of the factory will help ensure the production of 100 tonnes of briquettes per day, which will be marketed by a cooperative of 12 women linked to Women's Initiative The Gambia.

Multifunctional solar platforms

At the Fandema training centre, women from the Tujereng community develop the necessary skills to be able to enter the job market. They receive training in subjects generally associated with the female gender: textile crafts or cooking, but also in painting, electronics, welding, construction, renewable energies, or new technologies. In the field of renewable energies, Fandema has created the Multifunctional Solar Platforms, mainly comprised of women, dedicated to the development of businesses based on solar energy applications.

The project, developed in collaboration with the Mbolo Association, aims to optimise the training investment of the women of Fandema and to help develop and consolidate the work that these platforms carry out in the field of solar energy applications by accompanying and providing ongoing technical assistance to their activities. This accompaniment would be aimed at the improvement, development or start-up of their businesses and the possible provision of financing, based on the premise of promoting savings and improving financial literacy and education. The working methodology is based on what are known as SFC, self-funded communities.

Advanced training in solar energy systems for agriculture

Mbolo Association is a non-profit organisation based in The Gambia since 2010. Two of its flagship programmes, Fandema and Lighting the Future have demonstrated great synergy since 2014, when Mbolo mainstreamed gender in renewable energy technology solutions. The women address issues of energy poverty, reducing energy demand and the supply gap for low-energy economic activities by installing solar energy systems. So far, Mbolo has trained 94 women as solar installers and renewable energy managers.

This project aims to strengthen the capacities of a group of 10 women who are solar installers, trained at Fandema, with advanced theoretical and practical training in solar pumping systems applied to agriculture. Upon completion of this training, this group of installers will be able to carry out the complete cycle of solar pumping, from design to repair, and thus diversify the business option within the same niche, autonomous solar installations. The training, carried out with practical and real cases of different solar systems, includes the sizing and design of the solutions and the maintenance and troubleshooting.