Organised by WANEP- Gambia with funding from the UNFPA, the training was held at Mansakonko Area Council, Lower River Region. Each of the participants received an amount of (D50, 000.00) and a certificate.
The project was designed to provide the participants with the prerequisite knowledge and skills to enable them sensitise their respective communities on issues relating to conflict prevention, peace building and leadership and real skill development
At the event, Salaman Njie, WANEP Country Coordinator, shed light on the rationale behind the implementation of this project, which she said is to enable the participants to have in-depth knowledge in the maintenance of peace, conflict resolution and ensuring peace building within their communities.
Njie acknowledged that youth constitute 60% of the population and as exposing or training them on such issues is important, considering at this point in the election year.
WANEP Country Coordinator noted that the selection process for the training was very transparent as it was advertised on both in the print and electronic media, where over 200 applied, out of which 25 were selected and trained.
“At the end of the ten day training, participants were tasked to come with a project proposal to address root causes of conflict within and between their communities, so as to maintain peaceful co-existence and as well as build their capacity as peace builders and entrepreneurs,” she explained.
Saikou K. Sanyang, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youths and Sport, on behalf of the minister, commended WANEP, and UNFPA for their foresight in coming up with such an important project.
PS Sanyang underscored the importance of harnessing the skills of youth on leadership and entrepreneurial skills development, which he said, is intricately needed in the sustenance of peace.
He observed that high rates of unemployment among youth can in itself be a threat to long term peace and security of any nation.
“Access to finance has always been a great hindrance to the potential of our young entrepreneurs to grow their business which allows them to earn a decent living and by extension creating jobs for other people.”
He thus advised the beneficiaries of the grant to use it for the intended purpose, reminding that their success is by extension an opportunity for others to benefit from the same opportunity.
“Your failure only closes the door for more other young people to benefit.”
Mr. Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA Country representative, described the training as ‘timely’ as it has equipped the beneficiaries with in-depth knowledge on conflict analysis, mediation and dialogue and conflict prevention among a host of others.
“Young people remain the most important demographic of The Gambia in terms of their numbers and ability to author and influence the transition in stabilising or destabilising ways.”