By Olimatou Coker
The United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake recently travelled with a high-powered delegation comprising heads of the UN system in the Gambia, Minister of Youth and Sports and Executive Director of National Youth Council to youth project sites at Chamen Skills Centre.
The visit also witnessed the graduation ceremony of students undergoing skills training at the Gambia Songhai Initiative Centre in Chamen, North Bank Region.
Ms . Jayathma is in Africa to take the message of the United Nations Secretary General from UN ECOSOC Youth Forum held in New York on 28-31 January to young people in five West African countries including the Gambia.
Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon Henry Gomez said liberating the Gambia from the pangs of poverty and sustaining her technological advancement is a herculean task.
“The road is hilly and bumpy but the Gambia is just one of those African countries that will make it to the finishing line. I am saying this because behind the wheel of the state train is a careful and focused driver, in the name of His Excellency Adama Barrow. We should all be very proud of him. The current government knows that going to Babylon seeking asylum in drugs and laziness are no longer an attractive option in this country. The government therefore is doing everything possible for us to liberate this country at least from the pangs of hunger,” he said.
He added that 29 Gambian youth graduated successfully from 6 months training in Benin and returned to Gambia in February 2015 to transfer their skills. 16 of them are currently engaged by FAO in their MDG community gardens all over the country while 5 are absorbed by the MoBSE and 2 established their own small agribusiness farms in their respective communities.
One hundred and seventy-seven youth covering the 1st to 5th batches had been recruited for training. Currently 39 (11 male and 28 female of the 40 in the 5th batch are undergoing their training sponsored by YEP youth empowerment project.
“National development is a progressive and constructive process of engaging all citizens in building social cohesion, economic prosperity and political stability, thus the involvement of youths in national development is a must,” he stated.
The speakers urged the youths to make best use of the knowledge they gained during their training.