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Internship Testimony - ActionAid International The Gambia

Ndey Jasseh, Former Intern, Actionaid The Gambia

Internship Testimony

By Ndey Jasseh - ActionAid International The Gambia

“ActionAid is a global federation working for a world free from poverty and injustice...[1] We work to empower poor and marginalized people in the Gambia to claim their human rights, to demand public services and to live a life of dignity.”[2]


            I learned about ActionAid through research on organizations focused on humanitarian work and social justice. I subsequently decided on the Federation for my internship and chose ActionAid International The Gambia due to their focus on empowering women, youth, children, and marginalized individuals—a mission that resonates with my commitment to creating a positive change in my home country. 

According to their international website (, ActionAid is a global federation working to see a just, fair and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. They work to achieve social justice and gender equality, and to eradicate poverty. Founded as a charity in 1972, ActionAid adopted a human rights-based approach to development in the 1990s. In 2003, they established the ActionAid International federation with head office in Johannesburg, South Africa, and hubs in Asia, the Americas and Europe.

ActionAid's dedication to humanitarian work, particularly their focus on women’s rights, aligns with my passion and specialization in global law and social justice, making it a fitting choice for my internship. Thus, after visiting their international website, going through their yearly reports and reading inspiring online stories, I was keen to find out more about the work of the organization. I decided to get involved in their activity in the Gambia, my country of birth, to witness firsthand the impact of their initiatives and commitment to empowering marginalized communities. Thus, began my two-month journey as a programme and policy intern (04 November – 31 December 2023).

I worked within the Programme and Policy Department, providing assistance to the Head of Programmes and Policy (HOPP), Mr Fafa O. Cham, on various projects. While I didn't have a specific role, my responsibilities involved supporting the HOPP in the projects undertaken during the period of my internship.

One of the highlights of my internship involved extensive fieldwork in the Upper River, Central River, and Lower River regions. During this time, I actively participated in sensitization campaigns aimed at empowering women to own land specifically for their farming needs. This hands-on experience allowed me to witness firsthand the positive impact of empowering women in rural communities and their contributions to sustainable agriculture.

            In addition to my fieldwork, I was also involved in the drafting of ActionAid International The Gambia's new Country Strategy Paper VI (CSP-VI). This experience allowed me to contribute to the organization's strategic planning process, enhancing my skills in policy formulation and implementation. The collaborative nature of this process highlights ActionAid's commitment to inclusivity and its dedication to aligning strategies with the evolving needs of the communities it serves.

            Throughout my internship, I had the opportunity to attend key meetings, including the validation of the IBBS report of The Gambia, the ECOWAS national dialogue on SSRG and many others. These engagements highlighted ActionAid's proactive involvement in national and regional dialogues, emphasizing the organization's commitment to advocating for social justice and human rights. AAITG’s active involvement in these forums demonstrates its dedication to influencing policy and fostering meaningful dialogues among stakeholders.

I had the privilege of completing a rewarding two-month internship with ActionAid International The Gambia in the Programme and Policy Department, under the leadership of HOPP. My experience with the organization has been both enriching and enlightening, as I actively contributed to impactful initiatives aimed at empowering women, children, youth, PLIP (People Living In Poverty) & exclusion and fostering sustainable development.

I would like to commend ActionAid International The Gambia for its unwavering dedication to creating positive change in the lives of vulnerable communities. The organization's commitment to empowering women, as evidenced by the land ownership sensitization campaigns, aligns with the principles of equality and social justice. Through such initiatives, ActionAid has not only raised awareness about the importance of women's land ownership for their farming needs but has also contributed to dismantling gender barriers and promoting economic empowerment. This holistic approach is a testament to the organization's comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted challenges faced by communities and its proactive efforts to address them. ActionAid's impact extends beyond rhetoric, making a tangible difference in the lives of those it serves, and I am honoured to have been part of such a dedicated and impactful organization during my internship.

            In sum, what I witnessed at ActionAid The Gambia authentically validates their claim of working to empower poor and marginalized people. My internship at the organization was a transformative experience that broadened my perspective on humanitarian work and community development. Engaging with communities improved my communication and contributing to the CSP-VI made me think more strategically, as I was able to witness the process of designing and adopting new policies. The high-level meetings broadened my understanding of policy and working closely with the HOPP taught me a lot about project management and teamwork.

The dedication to grassroots initiatives, active participation in policy discussions, and a genuine commitment to positive change were evident in every aspect of their work. The experience gained and skills acquired through hands on community engagement, active involvement in policy development, and exposure to high level meetings, provided me a broad and enriching learning journey. Overall, my internship with ActionAid International The Gambia was an encounter that enhanced my communication, strategic thinking, and project skills.

I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the organization's impactful initiatives and commend ActionAid for its unwavering dedication to creating positive change in The Gambia. I must express my appreciation for the exceptional leadership of Mr Fafa O. Cham, whose guidance was instrumental in my professional development during the internship. Furthermore, the visionary leadership of Mrs Ndella Faye Colley, the Executive Director, sets a commendable tone for the organization's commitment to sustainable development and social justice. I extend my gratitude to the entire team at ActionAid International Gambia for fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment. The skills and insights gained during this internship will undoubtedly shape my future endeavours in the field of humanitarian work.


Ndey Jasseh