The Baluo project

Swiss-Gambian husband and wife team Foday and Martina Alig Ceesay launched project Baluo in remembrance of Mohammadou Ceesay. Mohammadou died in 2008, at the age of only 21, while trying to reach Europe. His ship, with over 200 people on board, sank on the way from Mauritania to Spain killing more than 100 people, including 25 people from the region of Damphakunda, Foday’s original home.

Mamadou Ceesay

Mamadou Ceesay († 2008)

The Baluo Project would like to provide an alternative to Migration by creating apprenticeships and jobs, and therefore building up local skills and know-how. Young people in The Gambia should be able to make a living in their own country, and make a positive contribution to the development of their land and its people.

To reach this goal, Baluo sets up small businesses, accompanies them in the start-up phase and, where possible, supports them towards independence. The aim is then, to use these self-reliant businesses to provide training opportunities for workers in the future.

The apprentices are trained by skilled Gambian workers, that have, in turn, been trained by their older family members. Further training of these skilled workers is made possible through our exchange program with specialists from Switzerland. Trainees, having finished their apprenticeships, should then be able to pass on their skills to the younger generation. In this way, they can provide sustainable growth of knowledge and skills in the local area.

We want Baluo to insist on maintaining high standards, as this will serve to make our businesses stand out on the Gambian market.  We are committed to building a strong infrastructure, and negotiating fair terms of employment together with the employees, so we can find and keep good workers. Wherever possible, we also work with local businesses and use local materials.

We want Baluo to function as a role model to other businesses, and show what is possible to do with simple means.