Breaking Barriers in the Automotive Industry: The Inspiring Journey of Fatoumatta Jammeh

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The CEO of The Gambia Female Automotive Service Providers, Fatoumatta's story is one of inspiration and empowerment

By: Awa Conteh 

Welcome to this week’s episode of Women in STEM. Today, we spotlight Fatoumatta Jammeh, a remarkable woman whose journey exemplifies resilience, determination, and groundbreaking achievement in the automotive industry. From her humble beginnings to becoming the CEO of The Gambia Female Automotive Service Providers, Fatoumatta’s story is one of inspiration and empowerment. Join us as we delve into her transformative journey and impact on breaking barriers and fostering gender equality in STEM fields.

Meet Fatoumatta Jammeh, a woman in her thirties who is happily married and has a wonderful family. After finishing high school in 2009, she joined Riders for Health for vehicle management and mechanics training in 2010. Later, she pursued her passion by studying auto mechanics at Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI), graduating four years later in 2019 and equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resilience to thrive in the world of auto mechanics. 

Her journey serves as an inspiration, breaking barriers and proving that with dedication and perseverance, anything is possible. Today, she is the CEO of The Gambia Female Automotive Service Providers, who is into vehicle diagnostics and maintenance with a team dominated by women. 

From a tender age, Fatoumatta harbored a deep-seated desire to shatter the barriers that often confine women. Her aspirations stretched far beyond personal success; she envisioned herself as a catalyst for national development. Dreaming of a future where she could pave the way for others, she set her sights on establishing her own company, which would play a pivotal role in alleviating unemployment among the youth in The Gambia, focusing on empowering women.

Fatoumatta with her team of Mechanics

Fuelled by her determination to effect positive change, Fatoumatta recognized the importance of breaking stereotypes and forging new paths. Despite societal expectations, she remained steadfast in pursuing her ambitions. Her vision extended beyond mere entrepreneurship; it encompassed a broader mission to create opportunities for those who had been marginalized and overlooked. 

Fatoumatta received the prestigious JAMBARR award from QTV and was named JAMBARR of the Year 2022 by Gambia Talent. Additionally, she played an active role in forming the national employment policy for 2022/23. Her contributions to both the media and policy-making underscore her dedication to positively impacting her community. Our rising trailblazer also grabbed the 2023 STEM award for her work in the sector.

‘Seeing women frustrated with their cars or being given wrong diagnostics about their cars because they have almost no knowledge about them, coupled with my desire to break the norm that auto-mechanics and related fields are for men, are the driving force towards my career path,’ she told TAT. 

After completing an eight-year apprenticeship, Fatoumatta’s love and passion for her work inspired her to establish the first female automotive garage in The Gambia. In a male-dominated industry like auto mechanics, her role extends beyond fixing cars; it’s about breaking stereotypes and empowering women. Through her garage, she aims to inspire more women to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated fields and equip them with the skills to become independent.

Throughout her career journey, Fatoumatta has remained steadfast in her choice despite the challenges surrounding sectors like auto mechanics for women. She attributes much of her resilience to the unwavering support of her family, especially her husband, who shares her passion for mechanics. Their support is a constant source of motivation during challenging times, reinforcing her determination to pursue her dreams.

Fatoumatta advises fellow women aspiring to enter the automotive industry and other STEM fields: let passion and determination be their guiding lights. Despite the obstacles in traditionally male-dominated sectors, she urges them to pursue what brings them happiness and fulfillment. While seeking advice from others is valuable, she emphasizes the importance of staying true to one’s aspirations and convictions.

‘Women should see and put themselves before anyone.’ She said women must focus and believe in themselves before expecting anyone to support their goals and aspirations. 

In addition to her groundbreaking work in the automotive industry, Fatoumatta has established a club in the Greater Banjul Area where she mentors high school students, guiding them on various career paths in skill development and entrepreneurship. She believes that widening her advocacy network and raising awareness about the benefits of acquiring skills is crucial. Recognizing that not everyone is suited for white-collar jobs, Fatoumatta emphasizes the importance of skills and vocational career paths in society. With a commitment to gender equality, she ensures that these opportunities are accessible to all, regardless of gender.

As we conclude this episode on Women in STEM, Fatoumatta Jammeh’s story serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration. Her unwavering dedication to her passion and her relentless pursuit of equality and empowerment showcase the transformative power of determination and resilience. Through her pioneering efforts in the automotive industry and her commitment to mentoring and advocating for women in STEM, Fatoumatta is not only shaping the future of her community but also inspiring generations to come. As we reflect on her remarkable achievements and contributions, let us be inspired to continue championing diversity, breaking barriers, and driving change in STEM and beyond.

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