Youth Innovation Network (GYIN)-Gambia Chapter over the weekend held their
second annual youth award at The Gambia Songhai Initiative (GSI) at Chamen in
the North Bank Region.
The event was organised under the theme: Linking Stakeholders in the agricultural value chain from fields to mouths; increase food production, processing and marketing to provide decent jobs for rural youths.
The awards committee officials said the event was meant to recognise and celebrate successes of rural youth in entrepreneurship and agribusiness and to provide some financial support to deserving agribusiness players to not only grow their business but to serve as encouragement for others to stay in agriculture and contribute to increasing food security.
Permanent secretary No.2 of the Ministry of Agriculture Adama Ngum-Njie said efforts need to be redoubled for the successful attainment of rapid economic growth and structural change if the grinding poverty of subsistence agriculture in The Gambia has to end.
She said the event is a landmark as it unveils the Network’s contribution to national development by helping to transform young people’s potential, creativity, talents, initiative and social responsibility through the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values.
Project manager of the European Union funded Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) Raimund Moser said nomination of the awardees indicated how committed they were in making impacts in their various communities, saying the rural award will go a long way in recognising the contribution of young people toward national development. “Everyone here is a winner as all of you have being recognised for the award. You have to understand that many people are now looking onto you.”
Fatou Saine-Gaye, chief executive officer of Gai Ngorro Skills Training Centre and guest speaker of the event said Gambia’s rural young people are champions and if Gambians have belief in them and support them; they will contribute to the realization of a better Gambia.
“We have to change our attitudes. Europe needs us because we produce for them. We have to produce and leave it here so that we can earn more. Let’s stay in our communities.”
Mberry Jobe-Sonko, National Youth Council networking and registration officer said irregular migration has become one of the challenges confronting Gambia’s national development process. She said to curb the problem; there is need for collective efforts and initiatives like the rural youth award to encourage young people to go into agriculture and entrepreneurship.
GYIN executive director Mamadou Edrisa Njie said the award will go a long way in complementing the awardees’ efforts in enhancing their business initiatives, saying all the nominees will later participate in a three-month mentorship programme.