The partnership is targeting 1200 TVET beneficiaries, and as of now, 843 out of 1200 trainees have participated in this innovative training module. NSGA has been delivering Life Skills Training in 11 TVET centres and two agro-based enterprises offering apprenticeship opportunities in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA), Lower River Region (LRR) and Upper River Region (URR).
The module is meant to expose young technicians graduating from TVET centres to various life skills in order to facilitate their decision-making processes, hence better meet their needs and aspirations, besides contributing to their wellbeing and that of others. NSGA Trainer Yankuba Darboe sheds light on the importance of the training: “Decision-making is an everyday aspect of life. Many young people make a lot of decisions in their lives that seriously fire back negatively on them and leave a scar in their hearts.” Through this training participants are expected to rely more on themselves, realizing their personal core values and aspirations, besides taking full responsibility for every one of their actions or lack of action.
The Life Skills Training is one of the support skills GIZ provides under the Tekki Fii project and during the 7-day intensive training, the participants acquire a variety of skills related to effective communication and how to make informed decisions in their professional but also in their everyday lives. The importance of trust is also highlighted during this training, as a core in meaningful relationships and the transition through to adulthood. This has formed the basis to why most young people take decisions that are sometimes delusional. As such, participants are exposed to practical sessions where there is a very “dramatic” moment, in which a volunteer is blind-folded and helped on a table from where he or she has to jump backwards in the hands of the person he or she trusts most. It questions peer influence over decisions they make as young people, which is mostly driven by trusting or the perception that there is trust in friendships.
In helping them to stay grounded and deconstruct issues that society sees as taboos, sometimes emanating from family, peer influence, societal pressure and religious beliefs, the training gives beneficiaries a unique opportunity to look deeper in oneself and develop the ability of making concrete decisions based on their own terms, without allowing the dominance of external influence. Some of the beneficiaries seem to have been deeply impressed and to have learned most through the numerous thought-provoking role plays. “The role play part has put me in the picture of risk reduction among the people that I deal with,” says Abdou Samura a student studying Garment Construction at Ida’s Ideas Training institute. Abdou added that the training has helped him to influence young people in more positive and effective ways.
Also adding her thoughts is Isatou S. Bah, a beneficiary from GTTI: “This training has helped in making me see a clear picture of myself right now and how I want to achieve my future goals,” she explains. She advices young people to lead their own initiatives, explore ways of boosting their self-esteem and engaging in more effective communication, which are all themes she got exposed to during the training.
Besides shaping their confidence and self-awareness, the life skills trainer at Insight Training Center, Momodou Ceesay, highlighted that the end goal is for the trained youths to take their own responsibilities and not rely on others or going to foreign lands. “This training develops their independence and critical thinking which, in turn, helps them to be assertive and make healthy relationships.”
The head of TVET Component at GIZ, Momodou Bittaye, gave his impression of the initiative which the trainees seem to build so much interest in: “We conducted a midterm evaluation of our project activities between May and July 2020, and all the trainees want Life Skills Training to be part of the curriculum whilst some respondents even requested for it to be aired on both TV and radio for others to benefit,” he informed.
In addition to the 1200 TVET beneficiaries, the EU-GIZ Tekki Fii project also plans to train 200 young Gambians partaking in the Apprenticeship Programmes. To sustain this initiative, GIZ has invested in training focal persons in each one of its partner TVET centres so that they can continue to deliver Life Skills Training to young Gambians once the EU-GIZ Tekki Fii Project phases out in November 2021.