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GYIN Gambia ELIT 2017: Expanding youth development through entrepreneurial mentorship

May 24, 2017, 12:04 PM

The Global Youth Innovation Network Gambia Chapter (GYIN Gambia) would hold its 2nd edition of the National Youth Summer Camp from 23 July to 1 August, 2017.

This year’s Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Information and Technology (ELIT 2017) summer camp would allow young people to become rural mentors in their own regions as well as other regions of the country.

The 10-day event would hold under the theme ‘ELIT 2017: Expanding Youth Development through Entrepreneurial Mentorship’.  It is aimed at establishing a rural mentorship programme; sharing knowledge and experience on entrepreneurship, agribusiness and youth development issues; seeking business opportunities and networking, and to design a rural youth employment survey plan.

Activities would take the form of conferences, individual and group presentations, quizzes, comedy, culture; field visits to agricultural project sites (rice and poultry farms), markets; and case studies on youth mentorship programmes.

Forty-five (45) youths from across all regions of the country, aged 18 to 35, are to participate in the event.  The venue and call for application would be announced shortly.

Subsequent editions of the ELIT starting from 2017 would be designed to build up on the interest and potential recognition in the youth and further this dream into an authoritative document which would serve as a developmental guide. 

“This is because the absence of a domestic and all inclusive baseline source on youth participation in national development is a leading challenge to designing such a project in the name of young people,” Mr Ebrima Bah, chairperson of ELIT 2017, said.

“Interestingly, the 2016 camp successfully compelled many of its participants to either expand their scope of business ventures or began to dip their legs into more meaningful associations with a view to inspire themselves for community development.

“Out of thirty contestants, nine of the first batch of ELIT were shortlisted in the first edition of the Rural Youth Award out of which four won the awards in the categories of Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Emerging Business of the Year, Young Information Technology of the Year, and Young Business Innovation Business of the Year by a verdict of independent panellists.”

Mr. Mamadou Edrisa Njie, GYIN Gambia Executive Director, said a gap of technology and user competences between urban and rural youths, which often presents itself in access differentials, was identified prior to the camp. Aware of the potential of technology in improving community development, the camp introduced the teaching of the subject as core for participants.

“This time, it will be interesting to partner up the most skilful computer users with those less exposed to the system with a view to allow peer learning during the camp,” he said.  “The ELIT 2017 will facilitate the launch of the Youth Mentorship Programme to raise-up momentum of knowledge sharing on entrepreneurship, leadership and informational technology.”

By way of the mentorship programme, GYIN Gambia Rural Youth Awardees (Youth Champions) would be presented as exemplary team by the GYIN Gambia secretariat at ELIT 2017. Having them as Rural Youth Mentors would strengthen their potentials to expand their enterprises and inspire their mentees on entrepreneurship and business technology.

Mr Njie said: “One of the core values of ELIT is to transform knowledge and skills into performance-oriented ventures.  Therefore, this strategy will not only address the crises of unemployment, it will also bridge the gender gap in the labour market thus address several other social ills such as irregular migration (back-way) and rural urban drift. 

“ELIT 2017 is designed with special emphasises in the agricultural value chain- production, processing, and marketing of crops by young people which is a scientific model in the fight against poverty.”

The Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) is an international youth network supported by the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).  Its Gambian chapter specialises in rural development by supporting rural youth to become self-reliant.