Abuko Youth Association (AYA),  was started through the work of  KORI in 2014. It is now a youth led association with 60 young members, an elected committee and is fully registered in Gambia. They actively work to empower themselves and their community and are consistently trained by DOAF in leadership, youth work, the arts and entrepreneurship. The members take part in projects led by international and local leaders.

DOAF is sponsoring members of AYA, providing finance for training and education. We pay fees directly to schools and training institutes and monitor the young persons’ progress. 

 Why AYA is important

Young people are leaving Gambia, migrating to Europe "Backway". This is a perilous journey, with traffickers, kidnappers and dangers at sea along the way, and many have died. This route ends in a crossing the medittranean illegally. The Mediterranean crossing took 3,550 lives in the first eleven months of 2015, hundreds more than 2014's total. [1]

AYA have been affected personally, losing friends, family and members to the "backway". One of their main goals is to enable opportunities that provide young 

-               According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) at least 2,247 people have died or are missing after trying to enter Europe via Spain, Italy or Greece in the first half of this year. Last year 5,096 deaths were recorded (Chowdhury & Sundaram, 2017)

-               The majority- including ‘economic migrants’, victims of ‘people smugglers’ and so on – were young Africans aged between 17 and 25 (Chowdhury & Sundaram, 2017)


Gambia has a population of 1,991,000, with 19 to 30 year olds making up almost 37%. There is 38% Youth unemployment, and  inflation is rising, pushing up the cost of food and necessities. [2]

For more information see: 2014 UN Development Programme report 


Abuko, Gambia