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Mbassey Manneh | ‚ÄčThe Gambia

What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?

I am a social and political activist working with ActionAid global youth network. As a campaign coordinator, I work specifically with women and youth to empower them, specifically in regards to their civic rights and social justice issues. The issues we address range from women's land rights to women's political participation and women and youth inclusion in political spaces. Currently I am working more on expanding civic space and strengthening democracy because of the government and dispensation in The Gambia. I feel that youth and women need to be politically aware.

What I intend to do when I return is to work with young women to represent themselves and their voices at all decision making processes that affect their lives. I will go ahead to actualize a platform called Feminista. It will be a platform that consists of only young girls and women to talk about issues that affect their life. It will consist of women from the entrepreneurship sector, women political activist, and also work with adolescent girls to improve their self awareness about gender violence issues, and issues regarding their sexual and reproductive health rights.

What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?

The diversity and friendliness of the people. You see that people are quite peaceful regardless of tribe and religion.

My favorite thing about Philadelphia is the beautiful environment. The city is clean. You don't see people littering in the street. Nice views.  The people. I always see people who want to talk to you. You see friendly people.

Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?

I like to sing. Sometimes I like to write lyrics. I love cooking too. Reading novels.

If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?

Jollof rice. Peanut butter soup.