Project Director for the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) and
Regional Learning Centre (RLC), Dr. Shola Safo-Duodu and her team have recently
concluded a 3-day working visit to The Gambia.
The purpose of the visit was to enable them interface with the graduates of the programme and to also launch the Gambia Alumni Chapter.
The Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI), an initiative of former President Barack Obama, is aimed at providing leadership skills and training for young emerging African leaders.
The Regional Learning Center (RLC) in Accra, Ghana is responsible for nine countries in West Africa, including The Gambia.
YALI-RLC West Africa, Accra is managed by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), on behalf of its founding partners, the USAID and MasterCard Foundation.
The project from 2015 to 2017, has offered full scholarship packages to more than fifty (50) young Gambians between the ages of 18 and 35 years, to attend a five-week leadership programme in GIMPA.
Speaking at the launch of the Gambia Alumni Chapter held last Monday at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Dr. Shola-Safo Duodu said the project exists to ensure that young people could come up with solutions to Africa’s problems.
She said the project began operation in May 2015 and has since trained 1, 775 people, including 72 who are Gambians.
She added that it was important that the centre interacts with the alumni in all countries, because they need to monitor and evaluate how well they are doing as far as achieving success is concerned.
They have initiated an Alma-base to give Alumni the opportunity to tell their stories, she said, noting that the YALI project has produced great stories.
In the words of Dr. Safo-Duodu, they want to change the narrative about Africa.
She described youth unemployment as a ticking time bomb which is all over Africa, saying “when young people are unemployed or are under-employed the devil would find things for them to do.”
She divulged that the GRTS MD has promised to profile stories of Gambian entrepreneurs as a way of mentorship, hence those stories could help young people to take hope from it.
She commended The Gambia for being able to sustain its fishing industry looking at the varieties of fish they found at Tanji Fishing Centre; hence other countries need to learn from it.
“The reason we bring 9 countries together is we want Pan-African solutions to Pan-African problems,” she stated.
She then called on young people to not allow anyone think that they are too young to make a difference, as according to her, they depend on young ones to make a difference.
Alh. Sillah Conateh, YALI Country Coordinator for The Gambia, thanked the centre for inculcating leadership skills into Gambia young people.
He encouraged Gambian fellows to continue the good work, as well as making Gambians proud.