Feb 9, 2012, 2:00 PM
The deputy speaker of the National Assembly has advised young girls and women graduands of the Gambia Girls Guide Skills training centre, an affiliate of Gambia Girls Guides Association, to rise up to challenges and make their institution proud.
Hon. Fatou Mbaye, Deputy Speaker of the House, was speaking at the weekend at the graduation ceremony of 300 young women who have successfully completed their studies at the Gambia Girls Guide Skills Training Centre in Kanifing.
According to officials, the Gambia Girls Guide Association is a voluntary, non-political organization cum educational organization specifically for girls and young women without religion, race, nationality or any other situation.
The Gambia girls Guide is a member of an international organization dubbed World Association of Guides and girls scouts (WAGGGS) with a membership of over 10 million members in 145 countries with based in London.
Saturday’s graduation witnesses the biggest comprising of three batches from 2007 to 2011.
Hon. Mbaye told young women graduates that the function was an important milestone in the lives of the new graduands as “it marks the end of many months of training, and it also marks the beginning of a new chapter” in their lives.
She said: “This graduation therefore does not represent the end but marks the beginning of a new phase in life. You should not be satisfied with your achievement today but rather work towards other qualification.”
She further advised the graduands to take advantage of whatever opportunity that comes their way while believing that the many months they spent training in different skills will no doubt prepare them to confront whatever challenges they are bound to face.
“Do not wait to be employed but rise up to the challenge of becoming one of those patriotic Gambians that will create employment opportunities for others, thereby contributing to the realization of the PAGE and Vision 2020 blueprint,” she advised the young vocational school graduates.
For her part, the Chief Guides Commissioner, Yamudow Jagne, gave a brief background of Guiding in The Gambia, saying Guiding was established in The Gambia in 1923 by the wife of the then Governor and continued through the colonial era.
Ms Jagne said her association in its contribution to the achievement of the objective of PRSP, Vision 2020 and MDGs, contributes to national development.
She said her organization has established the skills training centre at its headquarters in Kanifing to cater for young girls who want to learn lucrative skills that would serve as their source of livelihood in life. The centre, she added, enrols about 100 young girls and women annually.
“Most of these students are early school leavers who couldn’t continue with their education because of socio-cultural problems such as poverty, early marriage, and teenage pregnancy,” she explained.
Madam Jagne, who has spent her entire life advocating for girls through Guiding, said the objective of the skills centre is basically to expose young girls and women to various skills for income generation for economic empowerment and self reliance.
She recalled that during 2009-2011 the centre was able to train 300 young girls and women, of which 100 were already employed and mainstreamed in the hotel industry while 30 were self-employed, running their own business.
She said due to technical and financial problems, the centre’s management decided to scale down its operations to courses on catering and hotel management; English, Mathematics, Housekeeping , Front Office, Cookery/pastry and Kitchen Organization.
Also addressing the young graduands was Ousman Gawol Nyang, director general of the National Training Authority, who encouraged them to live up to expectations in their various workplaces to make the centre proud.
He underscores the importance the NTA attaches to skills training and acquisition, adding that empowering young women cannot be overemphasised.
Absatu Saidy Camara, deputy Chief Commissioner, who chaired the graduation, urged the young women and girls to always try to transform their lives and be self-employed.
The graduation was witnessed by West Coast Region Governor Lamin Sanneh, Harriet Ndow, seasoned educationist, among other dignitaries.