The Mini Grants Scheme Officer of the National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions of The Gambia, Mr Saikou Touray said his office has disbursed about D1, 522, 781. 80 to support the beneficiaries in the country.
The purpose of the mini grant fund was to enhance employability of youths in The Gambia, create more youth-friendly enterprises thus curbing the menace of irregular migration while encouraging youth to take leadership roles in the credit union movement.
Since the inception of the Scheme, Touray said, Naccug has been entrusted with its management by the Youth Empowerment Project (Yep) to support young Gambians in creating prospective enterprises as well as up-scaling the micro medium, and small scale existing businesses. As at end of April 30th 2018, 32 young Gambians out of the 234 applications received nationwide have been awarded grants either to start a new business or improve their existing business.
The Mini Grant Scheme aims to complement other components of YEP to create an enabling environment for young entrepreneurs and small businesses.
According to Touray, Mini Grant Scheme Committee awarded grants amounting to D619, 769.00 to 15 youths during the first tranche. Similarly, Mini Grants amounting to D903, 012.80 was also awarded to 17 youths during the second tranche. Thus bringing the two tranches amount to D1, 522,781.80
The areas supported by grants include agribusiness, poultry, information communication & technology (ICT), fashion & textile, tourism, creative industry, etcetera.
Lamenting some of the challenges faced in the implementation of the three-year project, the mini grant officer explained that some of the beneficiaries usually anticipate cash while disbursements are made in kind which, according to him, is making the process very slow.
He added that there is a big awareness gap in the understanding of the mini grant by the youths. “Knowing how to fill the mini grant form is also another challenge we are facing with the applicants,” he said.
Touray went on to call the young people to apply as the project has two more years to go. “We’re still considering applications,” he said.
Naccug, the apex body for all credit unions in The Gambia, was formed in 1991. It is aimed at promoting and supporting the development of viable credit unions through sound and market-based business strategies. It works to develop and make available the best financial and non-financial services to its members at reasonable cost and to fight poverty as a model financial co-operative.
About ITC – The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Centre and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
About Yep- The Gambia Youth Empowerment Project (Yep) addresses the economic root causes of irregular migration by supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship. The four-year project started in January 2017 and is funded by the European Union (EU) Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.