The government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with the European Union, and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Sunday launched Direct Assistance and Voluntary Return and Integration for African migrants transiting in Niger.
The ceremony held at the Independence Stadium in Bakau was part of collective efforts to fight against irregular migration.
In his launching statement, the Youth and Sports Minister, Alieu K. Jammeh, underscored the importance of the project, saying that it is in line with his ministry’s top agenda, when it comes to the fight against irregular migration.
He said some time ago, a high-level delegation left Banjul to attend the migrants’ summit in Malta, headed by the Hon. Minister of the Interior, Ousman Sonko, and including him, as well as other top government officials.
Minister Jammeh said the event complements the government’s efforts, and called on everyone to support the project with whatever amount of efforts they could contribute.
He said the Gambian leader is helping to develop youths in the country.
He put young people in the board to show seriousness, why the project is indeed for the benefit of the young people.
He said this was not only the male youths, but the female youths as well, who all need to part of the project and that the female youths’ representatives had being showing a very good example, when it comes to youth development in the country.
Minister Jammeh called on every Gambian youth and in Africa, in general, to continue to provide assistance and to come forward and support the project to motivate the youths to curb the project.
Speaking earlier, the executive director of the National Youth Council (NYC), Lamin Darboe, said the day marked the launching of the International Organization for Migration’s project after a discussion with other relevant stakeholders, on the root causes of irregular migration with some of their brothers and sisters to provide them with something to hold on to.
He said migration has root cause factors, which motivated the brothers and sisters to take the ‘back way’.
He said most of the time, when you talk to the brothers who went through the ‘back-way’, what they complained of most of the time is the lack of motivation in their country of origin.
According to NYC official, through the support of other relevant stakeholders the project was divided into teams, noting that the first team had identified fishing materials which comprises fishing nets, compass and other fishing materials.
He said the group suggested that they would be distributing fish materials to the urban areas, and they have been provided with a mini-truck to carry out their distribution.
The NYC official further pointed out that the second group had identified tailoring and space rental, and this is a pilot project for those voluntary migrants to start their life with the project.
He informed the youths that as part of the project activities, his institution alongside NEDI will organise a 5-day training course to ensure that they do not only have the hard skills, but also experience.
Also speaking at the meeting was Ansumana Jawara, IMO desk officer in The Gambia, who said his organisation is always in the forefront when it comes to the issues and safety of African migrants.
He pointed out that his organisation had collaborators in all the transit points, and 19 per cent of his organisation is Africans and they have representatives in Mail and Niger.
He posited that over 120 per cent of African migrants in the transit points are being assisted by the IOM, and this approach means their service is good.
He said recently his organisation assisted 150 people from different African countries like Mail, Senegal and The Gambia.
He also said the project is divided into teams, and the first teams that identified fishing are 11 members and others that identified tailoring are 12 members, and the project costs D1.5 million.