Understanding who you are as a person is the first step to becoming what you want to be as an adult. That’s why traditional Mande music and culture are fundamental to the education received at The Gambia Academy.
But these are just two of the key building blocks that will enable our junior and adult learners to become successful and achieve healthy lives. Rigorous academics, health and nutrition, and confidence building are also fundamental aspects of our unique education curriculum.
Drawing from her own background as a musician, educator, and griot, Sona Jobarteh launched The Academy in 2015. What started with 21 young students selected from more than 400 candidates, is fast becoming a model for other education and vocational efforts across Africa.
Initially funded with proceeds from her international tour and album sales, we are now in expansion mode — inspired by the success of this pilot program and by our students’ quest to effect positive change in our young democracy.
THE ACADEMY IS IN EXPANSION MODE
Ms. Jobarteh is now well on the way to realizing her vision for The Gambia’s first music academy and culture centre. Recently, she purchased 50 hectares of land on which a brilliant new campus will take shape. Situated on the southern edge of The Gambia, this will enable us to expand The Academy’s junior enrollment to 100 students and launch a comprehensive vocational training program for those 18 or older.
The site of the Academy in Kartong puts it in a perfect location — a ten minute walk to the beach, whilst being closely connected to the rural community. The Academy will offer courses to both national and overseas students, benefiting from on-site accommodation. The project is now at the development and funding stage, and we are reaching out to partner organisations, individuals and funders to come on board this pioneering enterprise.
The Gambia Academy is exclusively dedicated to the social and economic development of the country, utilising culture as the gateway for educating, implementing and empowering Gambians to be the agents of social change from the ground-level upwards.