The community outreach, which began in Janjanbureh, brought together representatives from the 13 beneficiary schools to provide them heads-up ahead of a massive 10-day sensitisation on migration.
The initiative was supported by Tekki-Fi partners International Trade Centre, Youth Empowerment Project, Enable, GIZ and IMVF.
The Koranic schools are the latest beneficiaries after IMVF provided similar programmes for 25 conventional schools in the Lower River, Central River, Upper River and North Bank regions.
Joana Martins, National Coordinator of IMVF emphasised the need to have a developmental project that is all inclusive thus including the Koranic schools in the awareness campaign.
“This initiative today and the initiatives that will follow in the next 10 days in each of the 13 schools, whose representatives are here today, is part of the Tekki-Fi project.”
“We are about to start in CRR an innovative initiative that comprises 13 Madarassas under MoBSE, to discuss with the youths about the opportunities they have in the country, also to discuss with them about migration, to inform the youths about the risks of back-way, to inform them also about the opportunities of migration but most importantly the opportunities for them in the country to succeed.”
“From the information we gathered from the field, it is also key to engage Islamic schools.”
Mustapha Sonko of Migration Information Centre under the National Youth Council emphasised the significance of targeting Islamic schools.
“When this project came, we realised that it is important to include the Arabic schools because we believe that there are times that they are being neglected.
“All efforts are geared towards the English schools. Looking at the Arabic school curriculum we understand that when it comes to opportunities that are available for the youths there, they have a slim chance.
He added; “Their curriculum is not tailored well to make sure that when they finish they get to the civil service jobs. This has left many of the students who graduated from Arabic schools to use the back-way.
“They are part of the citizens of this country and the youths who are going in the Arabic schools they deserve the attention of the National Youth Council and I could not say more than thank you to the IMVF for this wonderful initiative to make sure that all the youths are part of the people who have the taste of the national cake.”
Among the speakers included Muhammed Keita, who benefited from a D250,000 grant in kind from IMVF on agro business.
He had two processing machines at the time. But he was able to purchase extra 6 machines and today he owns 6 processing machines across various regions in the country.
Keita, who was full of praise for IMVF said, his agro business has extended to poultry and employs about 36 Gambians.
He thus urged youth to stay home, adding that there are lots of opportunities in The Gambia.
Ebrima Fatty from the Regional Education Directorate commended the IMVF for including the Koranic schools, saying very little attention is given to them in such projects.