#National News

REFELA Gambia conducts youth interface, stakeholders dialogue on skills development 

Mar 28, 2024, 12:24 PM | Article By: Jankey Ceesay

The Network of Local Elected Women The Gambia (REFELA), headed by the Lord Mayor of Banjul City Council who doubles as the president of REFELA, through the Youthful Voluntarism Project recently conducted youth interface and stakeholders dialogue on skills development aligned with the job market.

The project, funded by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and UNDP is aimed at advancing and supporting youth voluntarism frameworks, capacities, and activities in Banjul and promoting cross-exchanges and learnings with other cities in the global South through South-South and triangular cooperation. The project aims to equip 500 youth with different skills.

60 youth in Banjul are to benefit from skills training from whom three are set to travel out of the country for further training.

Isatou Njie, national coordinator for REFELA Gambia, said the main objective of the youth acquiring vocational skills is for employability and economic empowerment.

“Not everyone is meant for the office. Thus, the beneficiaries should make best use of the opportunity to empower themselves and contribute to national development, she said.

Alagie Jarju, executive director of the National Youth Council (NYC), urged beneficiaries to fulfil the responsibility that is expected of them as it will determine the coming of the second phase.

He also said that the government is committed to eradicating the high unemployment rate which is why they are focusing more on TVET recently. Therefore, he said initiatives like this are here to join hands and reduce the unemployment rate among the youth.

Hon Abdou Aziz Dabakh, deputy mayor of Banjul encouraged the beneficiaries to be dedicated to be best in their fields, and to be ready to pass on the knowledge gained onto others.

“The opportunity you have is rare, you were selected among many applicants. Thus, you are expected to be ambassadors of the project and ensure its success, he told them.

Olimatou Deen Sarr, business development manager at GCCI, said: “You should be willing to network around and showcase what you do to people because through conversations and networking you can come across opportunities that can help you thrive.

Dr Ikone Ozioma, deputy director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at USET, said USET is no longer an institute that produces people who can work and fabricate, rather the ones who convert their capacities into businesses enterprises. 

He added that USET is open to support and coach entrepreneurs and help skills acquirers develop themselves and become professionals.

Maimuna Jahateh, founder of MaiyaMuna Skin and Hair Care, acknowledged the significance of the initiative and encouraged her follow beneficiaries to always develop and enlarge their skills.

“What ever skills you have that you feel is small, try to develop and make it bigger, that is the only way you can thrive and be unique. The learning does not stop, always innovate and be on top of your area, she stated.