Mar 26, 2012, 12:51 PM
Youth development has been the cornerstone in the work of The Gambia YMCAs over the past ten years. Since its inception the need to respond to the many emerging needs of young people in The Gambia, through micro-enterprise development, provision of vocational skills training and raising the awareness level of young people in the areas of legislative provisions that supports youth employment, is the bedrock of the work of The Gambia YMCAs.
With recent funding from the Big Lottery Fund - UK and Y Care International, The Gambia YMCAs is busy capacitising vocational skills development of young people in areas such as carpentry, welding, tailoring, hairdressing and beauty therapy, catering and food management, bee- keeping and honey production, motor mechanic, aluminum design and horticulture.
The provision of a free vocational skills training programme culminated from the development of a viable business plan for micro-loan application.
In April 2009, over 100 business plans were received from YMCA project beneficiaries' for possible approval to commence a business enterprise in their area of specialisation.
The Gambia YMCAs' Micro Finance Committee, chaired by Mr. Joseph Jallow approved about fifty applications for the provision of inputs and operational cost for business enterprise ventures, amounting to over D1.4 million applicants spanning from the Greater Banjul to Upper River Region. During the course of last week 14th - 19th September 2009, the Gambia YMCAs officially made available the said support.
In the Greater Banjul areas enterprise in tailoring workshop, hairdressing salons and a restaurant were supported. In North Bank Region of Farafenni two restaurants were supported, while in the Central River Region a welding workshop in Ballanghar and a carpentry workshop in Bansang were supported.
The spirit of the work gained momentum in the Upper River Region where scores of restaurants, carpentry, hairdressing and electrician initiatives were established through the YMCAs micro-loans support in villages, such as Basse, Wuli Jah Kunda, Barrow Kunda, Dramani, Sutukonding, Sandu Misera and Fatoto.
The reaction from the beneficiaries all signaled very positive appreciation of the YMCAs gesture and promised to live up to expectation, during the disbursement exercise.
Mr. Joseph Peacock, YMCAs' Project Coordinator, indicated the readiness of his organisation in the development of young people. He reiterated that The Gambia needs more business ventures, especially among youths as a strategy to curb the illegal migration syndrome. Young people form the backbone of our nation's future growth, noting that investing in them is not a waste at all, said Mr. Peacock.
In his reaction at his office in Kanifing, Sam Thorpe The Gambia YMCAs' Director underscored the need for an all- inclusive involvement and support to youth programs in The Gambia. He was quick to say that more needs to be done to support realistic youth programmes.
Mr. Thorpe took the opportunity to announce the commencement of the Gambia YMCAs Youth Job Centre, being funded by UNDP through the Gamjobs project. This centre will create an opportunity for young people to file in their credentials, while the YMCAs will facilitate any available employment opportunity. He challenged all young people to make good use of the YMCA Job Centre in Kanifing.