Mini Grants Scheme officer of the Association National of Cooperative Credit
Union of the Gambia (NACCUG), Saikou Touray, has said his office has disbursed
about one million, five hundred and twenty-two thousand, seven hundred and
eighty-one dalasis, eighty bututs (D1, 522, 781.80) to support different
beneficiaries in the country. The purpose of the mini grant fund is to enhance
employability of youths in the Gambia, create more youth friendly enterprises
thus curbing the menace of irregular migration while encouraging youth to take
leadership roles in the credit union movement.
Since the inception of the Scheme, Mr. Touray said NACCUG has been entrusted with its management by the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) to support young Gambians in creating prospective enterprises as well as up-scaling the micro medium, and small scale existing businesses. As at end of April 30th 2018, 32 young Gambians out of the 234 applications received nationwide have been awarded grants either to start a new business or improve their existing business.
The Mini Grant Scheme aims to complement other components of the YEP project to create an enabling environment for young entrepreneurs and small businesses. According to Mr. Touray, Mini Grant Scheme Committee awarded Grants amounting D619,769.00 to 15 youths during the first tranche. Similarly, Mini Grants amounting to D903, 012.80 was also awarded to 17 youths during the second tranche. Thus bringing the two tranches amount to D1, 522,781.80
The areas supported by grants include agribusiness, poultry, Information Communication & Technology (ICT), fashion & textile, tourism and creative industry, etc.
Lamenting some of the challenges faced in the implementation of the three-year project, the mini grant officer explained that some of the beneficiaries usually anticipate cash while disbursements are made in kind which, according to him, is making the process very slow.
He added that there is a big awareness gap in the understanding of the mini grant by the youths. “Knowing how to fill the mini grant form is also another challenge we are facing with the applicants,” he said.
Mr. Touray went on to call the young people to apply as the project has two more years to go. We’re still considering applications, he said.