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NEMA poised to increase income-generating capacity of women, youth

Nov 2, 2016, 11:27 AM

The National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project, better known as NEMA, is embarking on a four-day training designed to enhance the skills of women and youth on business planning and management of income generating activities.

The training which started on Monday at the regional education directorate in Basse, Upper River Region, is bankrolled by African Development Bank (AfDB) through a project entitled ‘Building Resilience against Food and Nutrition Insecurity in the Sahel’ (P2RS).

Speaking on the occasion, Ousman M. Colley, regional agricultural director, Central River Region south, said the alarm bell is ringing for women and youth to develop bankable business plans so as to access funding, particularly the agricultural matching grants available within projects in the country.

“We have millions in the coffers of the agricultural projects because we cannot develop bankable business plans, the grants are not moving,” he said emphatically.

Mr Colley noted that the agricultural projects are doing their utmost best in making funds accessible to all deserving youth and women.  He said this is why agricultural projects are launched in all the regions and followed by several trainings and sensitisations to reach rural dwellers.

The regional agricultural director commended Nema P2RS project for “the timely training”, saying capacity building is fundamental in national development.

A representative of the governor of URR, Victor Baldeh also hailed Nema for reaching out to rural youth and women by building their skills on entrepreneurship, business planning and business management.

He said agricultural projects are supporting and improving the livelihoods of rural youth and women through such training as the one organised by Nema.

Banky Njie, Nema P2RS Business Development Officer, explained that the training will be conducted in three regions: Upper River, Central River south and North Bank regions.

Through the P2RS, 150 young people, male and female, would be trained to enhance their skills in business planning and management, and ways to generate more revenue in any chosen business activity.

Mr Njie said at the end of the three trainings, they will do an assessment of the participants, and successful participants will graduate to the next stage.  At this stage, some funding would be provided to those who have demonstrated entrepreneurial competencies and willingness to use the funds to scale up or start their businesses.

In addition to funding, there would also be mentoring and coaching to further the fund recipients skills to enable them to better manage and grow their businesses or make them more employable within the agricultural value chain.

The business development officer said the ultimate objective of the training and its related activities are to build the entrepreneurial skills of women and young people as a way to reduce the dependency ratio and to put an end to the rampant irregular migration that has caused the lives of several youth.

Ade Joseph Taylor, managing partner, Executive Group Ltd, said at the end of the training, the participants are expected to avoid failing in their businesses.

He said with the calibre of the trainers and mentors provided to facilitate the training, the future of the rural women and youth is bright. 

Sanna Jaina, Nema focal point, agriculture officer, chaired the opening ceremony.  The four-day training includes question and answer sessions, individual and group work session, and step-by-step guidance in developing business plan.