Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF)

Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) Programme

The “Jobs, skills and finance (JSF) for women and youth in The Gambia 2018 - 2022” programme serves as vehicle to implement the second phase of the National Indicative Programme in The Gambia, which is part of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) with a subsequent extension to until 1 June 2023.

The Programme sought to reduce poverty through improved inclusive and sustainable growth and employment and aimed to contribute to stabilizing the economic, social and security situation of the country during the democratic transition by facilitating social inclusion and employment of the youth and women, with a specific emphasis on promoting gender equality and addressing climate change. Through the JSF Programme, UNCDF aimed to promote access to finance, reinforce decentralization processes, and strengthen national capacities to support local economic development, while improving climate change resilience of local communities.

The JSF Programme used the Local Climate Adaptive Living facility (LoCAL), and its innovative system of Performance Based Climate Resilience Grants to create jobs, particularly in the green economy. LoCAL supports local governments and communities in identifying needs in priority sectors and planning investments accordingly. Implementation of LoCAL proved so successful in The Gambia that the government have committed to continue activities beyond the life of the JSF Programme, using national resources.
With a budget of 16,000,000 EUR, the JSF Programme created 5,086 temporary jobs primarily for youth and women.

Through a holistic approach and a combination of grants, technical assistance and convening power, the programme:

1. Increased employment of women and youth through green and resilient economies–by supporting local authorities and communities to develop climate resilient investments that in turn can create job opportunities for vulnerable groups through “cash for work” (C4W) and procurement to local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

2. Improved opportunities in education and skills development for women, youth and MSMEs – by providing support to TVETs and other local training providers to improve the quality, and accessibility of vocational training schemes offered to youth and women which will be linked to the C4W opportunities and key sectors of economic opportunities at the local level.

3. Increased access to inclusive finance – by using a market systems approach to support the development and scale up of targeted financial services and products, particularly for women and youth, and the development of financial inclusive markets.

The JSF Programme was implemented in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and under the tutelage of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs of The Gambia.


UNCDF through JSF is supporting local governments and communities to identify needs and invest in projects that build communities climate resilience and use a “cash-for-work” model by which temporary wages are used as an entry point to financial inclusion while simultaneously building the long-term skills of beneficiaries.

The JSF Programme:
* Reached a programme target of 32 wards across the four regions
* Implemented 66 locally led adaptation projects
* Indirectly benefitted some 301,600 individuals with climate-relevant adaptation projects implemented under the JSF Programme: 45,878 directly, and 5,086 temporary jobs were created
* The Government of The Gambia committed to scale-up existing resilience-building activities using the Local Climate Adaptive Living mechanism as part of a new government-owned ‘LoCAL+’ action tabled to commence in 2023/4.


UNCDF in partnership with International Trade Center (ITC) work on improving the employability of young people and help entrepreneurs seize opportunities. ITC offers technical and vocational skills programs to strengthen their offerings to better match the needs of businesses and to address the skills gap by promoting entrepreneurship among youth through business skills training and support programmes.

* ITC provided technical support to MOHERST and NAQAA to facilitate the implementation of the TVET Roadmap and TVET policy.
* Through the Skills for Youth Employment (SkYE) Fund, a competitive funding model of TVET trainings, four training institutions (Gambia Technical Training Institute – GTTI, Gambia Horticulture Enterprise – GHE, Czech Bikes for Gambian Schools – CBGS, and Sterling Consortium) trained 375 trainees in different skill areas highly demanded by the labour market and 225 are already employed and counting.
* Through partnership with FAO and the Department of Agriculture to deliver capacity building to 600 farmers through the Farmer Field School program and Farmer Business School. The programs enhance livelihood of the 600 women in 20 communities.
* A total of 3,700 women and youth and women have enrolled in the various supported programs to build their capacities for formal jobs or self-employment initiatives and 3,588 have successfully completed the training programs.
* Seven TVET ecosystem enablers have been strengthened to support the delivery of relevant TVET courses .
* In collaboration with NAQAA, developed seven curricula and standards,
* Two apprenticeship frameworks were developed, and 70 youth successfully trained 90% percent of the graduates are either self-employed or employed


JSF aims to address the policy-and market level barriers that hinder financial inclusion. JSF works to strengthen the capacity of Financial Services Providers (FSPs) and policy-makers to help design the relevant environment leading to affordable, appropriate and responsible financial services for under-served populations, with a focus on youth, women and rural areas. With JSF, UNCDF establishes partnerships to improve access to financial services which help turn temporary jobs created by climate-resilient investments into long-term opportunities for women and youth.

Results grouped by implementing partner (with figures collated in March 2023):

Insist Global
• Over 9190 Afrijula subscribers
• Trained 3,888 on digital literacy
• Trained 4,448 on financial literacy

• Over 9,000 businesses assisted in raising funds through the platform
• 50 business trained under the accelerator programme

* 12,000 women onboarded
* 2 FSPS on boarded
* Over 8,000 women using financial services offered

* C4W beneficiaries with accounts 5,329 (75% women 56% youth) 3,708 clients accessed credit (76% women)5,197 trained in financial education Total number of clients accessing digital services is 1,097

Ministry of Gender
* 30 000 women have been trained in financial literacy

Working with Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

TROPINGO (Fruit and vegetable processing)
· Created 100 direct jobs in their mango and horticultural products business unit. (36 % by women)
· 11 direct jobs created within their groundnut processing and export business unit
· 150 direct jobs with their organic fertilizer business unit
· 300 indirect jobs created (mostly through their out-grower’s scheme/seasonal workers)

ASUPUNA (Agro processing business)
· Aspuna has created 75 jobs (including apprentices), 8 per cent of which are held by women over age 35, 39 per cent by young women (18–35) and 53 per cent by young men (18–35).
· Trained 627 farmers in climate-smart techniques and good agricultural practices (100 per cent are youth; 20 per cent are young women). MARUO FARMS (Rice cultivation)
· 2 storage facilities built
· Expansion of its out-grower base by 4000 small holder farmers
o Growth from 1200 to 5200 small holder farmers. Of this number,
o 95 per cent are women small holders and 15 percent are youth small holders
o Trained 3400 small holder farmers on improved rice production techniques

PREMIERE GREEN LTD (horticulture)
· Creation of 9 direct jobs (33 % are female and 100 % are youth) with 46 additional jobs pending for the next year
· As part of their expanded Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities Premier Green has provided high quality, high-yielding vegetable seeds to 15,015 farmers (of which 95% are women) in 62 villages all over the country to augment their income.

facts and figures


Direct and indirect beneficiaries


Temporary jobs


Locally led adaptation projects


Wards where activities implemented

Access to Finance


Access to Jobs

Financial Literacy


Stories from the Field

our TEAM

Maria Perdomo
Youth Finance Program Manager

Sophie de Coninck
Programme Manager - LoCAL (Africa)

Rebecca Simms
Programme Management Specialist