By Omar Bah
The Global Youth Innovation Network- Gambia (GYIN) has begun preparations ahead of the 2nd edition of Rural Youth Award 2018 scheduled to take place on 27 and 28 April 2018 at The Gambia Songhai Initiative (GSI) in Chamen, North Bank Region.
The Award categories are: Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Business Idea of the Year, Young Emerging Business of the Year, Young Commercial Farmer of the Year, Young Agribusiness of the Year, Young Agro-Tech of the Year, Young Business Innovation of the Year, Young Business Partner of the Year, Young Service Provider of the Year and Best Packing Products and Labelling of the Year.
Speaking to local journalists recently on the award and level of preparations, Mamadou Edrissa Njie, executive director GYIN- Gambia said the rural award is meant to encourage rural youth entrepreneurs to venture into agribusiness (production, processing and marketing) of home grown products.
“This year’s award is expected to gather more than 300 delegates, under the theme: Linking stakeholders in the agricultural value chain from fields to mouths: Increase food production, processing and marketing to provide decent jobs for rural youths,” he said.
Speaking further at the GYIN head office in Churchill’s Town, Mr Njie said that rural transformation is an effective way to overcome poverty and food insecurity through the provision of job opportunities through the value chain.
“Rural transformation is an effective way to overcome poverty, food security and job opportunities through the value chain, thus, building partnerships to facilitate the transformation of smallholder farmers,” he emphasis.
He said this year’s rural award is supported by the Youth Empowerment Project, NEMA-CHOSSO and the National Youth Council.
GYIN, he added, is a national youth network that focuses on entrepreneurship programme, agri-business, information technology and community outreach programmes.
“As a youth network, we only specialize in rural development that’s why our programme focuses on improving the livelihood of rural youths,” he said.
He continued: “This year we are looking into ten categories. At GYIN, we don’t only stop at awarding these young people. This year we will have 25 of them and 10 will be awarded and the other 10 will be nominees, and after the award we will start a three months mentorship programme for them which is supported by YEP.”
Mr Njie said applicants who are not lucky to win an award this year will have the opportunity to be enrolled in a three-month mentorship programme on enterprise management. “So basically there is no loser.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the national organizing committee of the award Muhammed Lamin F. Kinteh spoke at length on the significance of the award.
He said the organizing committee under his leadership recently concluded a caravan tour of meeting local authorities in the regions with a view to inform them about the importance of the rural award as well as to sound their opinions and recommendation in the subsequent awards.
The award is organised by the Global Youth Innovation Network Gambia Chapter (GYIN) in collaboration with key partners, including the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema-Chosso), and the National Youth Council (NYC).
Young people within the ages (15-35) whose farming or businesses are located in rural areas, are urged to apply.
The Rural Youth Award 2018 recognises and celebrates the success of rural youth in entrepreneurship and agribusiness and also provide some financial support to deserving agribusiness players to not only grow their business, but to encourage them to stay in Agriculture and contribute to the country’s food security.
This year’s award is expected to gather 300 delegates across the country- Government officials, diplomatic corps, CSOs, media, agricultural extension workers, youth speakers and youth mentors.
Twenty- five (25) rural youth nominees for the award will benefit from a day-long Entrepreneurship Skills Development Training- Labelling, Marketing skills, Branding, and Visibility.
The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema) supported the First ever Rural Youth Award 2017. All the 10 Award Winners and 15 Nominees for the 2017 Award have successfully completed a three (3) months Youth Mentorship Programme on Enterprise Management from 2nd October to 30thDecember, 2017.
The Youth Mentorship programme was funded by the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), a four-year initiative funded by the European Union (EU) Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.
Benefits as a partner:
GYIN Gambia will make you a partner not only for the award but for long term partnership which we will both agree on;
Opportunities including having your news activities posted on our website www.gyin.org, on multiple social media sites, and mentions in local main stream media etc…
The award gives rural youth the following opportunities: Exposure to ways of improving the packaging and labelling of their products, Training on record keeping, business registration, marketing, branding, and visibility, Recognition of their successful ventures in agribusiness, agro-tech and tourism and exposure to other successful youth entrepreneurs, A platform for rural youth who promote innovative agricultural enterprises and agribusinesses and Success story campaigns in print, electronic and online media to increase visibility for rural young entrepreneur.
GYIN Gambia Chapter is a youth-led initiative, which is entirely run and managed by young people with strategic support from GYIN International and partners.
GYIN Gambia Chapter was selected by IFAD in 2012 as a leading youth mobilization network for agricultural development in The Gambia and fully participated in the designing of the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema Project), which is a US$65M IFAD/IsDB and AfDB co-funded project which started implementation from 2012–2019 inclusive and is directly benefiting: 28,729 households.
As a key stakeholder, GYIN Gambia Chapter is a nominated member of the Project Steering Committee for Nema project and has collaborated with the project for the implementation of youth related activities such as trainings and small-scale vegetable garden production.
GYIN is also a member of the Nema Inter-Professional Body, a body which advices the project in implementation of project activities related to rice and vegetable production and value chain addition.
The core focus of GYIN-Gambia in this domain is to mobilize the rural youth for effective participation in agro-entrepreneurship. Within the framework of the Nema project, GYIN Gambia Chapter participated in designing of the Strengthening Climate Change Resilience of the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema-Chosso). GYIN-Gambia provided the youth perspective in the context of resilience building for the Nema interventions.
GYIN Gambia Chapter facilitated registration of the following youth organizations with the Ministry of Justice (Attorney General’s Chambers), Network of Entrepreneurs the Gambia (NEG in KMC), Jarumeh Koto Foundation in CRR North, Kiara Kaffo in CRR North and Youths against Irregular Migration (YAIM) in KM, Nyofelleh Tabokoto Development Association in WCR.
This support to youth formation falls under the Network’s Community Outreach Programmes, where community based organizations are formed, assisted to develop vision and mission statements, draft constitutions and get them registered with the appropriate authorities for legal existence and operation in the country.
GYIN Gambia Chapter has conducted innumerable training programmes and provided financial and technical services for youth associations in areas such as leadership, entrepreneurship, agribusiness, information and communication technology, business development advisory services; to name but just a few.
GYIN Gambia Chapter since its registrations serves as a member of the Steering Committee for the Nema Project and participates effectively in IFAD Joint Supervision Mission for the project since its inception in 2013 to date.
GYIN Gambia Chapter also participated in similar supervision missions for the former Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Development Project (PIWAMP), Rural Finance Project (RFP) and Livestock and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP) project, all projects under the Ministry of Agriculture, with co-financing by IFAD, the African Development Bank and the Government of The Gambia.
GYIN Gambia Chapter is collaborating with the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), which is an EU funded initiative for the Government of The Gambia to tackle the economic root causes of irregular migration through increasing job opportunities and income prospects for youth.
Through this partnership with YEP, GYIN Gambia Chapter’s successfully implemented the first-ever Rural Youth Award in 2017; the Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Information Technology (ELIT 2017); as well as the National Youth summer Camp and the Youth Mentorship Programme.
These programmes are geared towards improving skills, fostering entrepreneurship spirit and creating employment opportunities for the youth thereby curbing irregular migration among the youth.