By Olimatou Coker
Peace Corps The Gambia on Monday concluded a three-day youth camp on employment opportunities at the Gambia Pastoral Institute (GPI).
The activity is implemented to continue the Gambia’s youth employability and employment initiatives and the fight against irregular immigration. The activity also took the form of a camp that brought together four categories of participants; 15 peace corps volunteers (PCV) from all program sectors, PCV youth counterparts, youth leaders and one successful and model youth entrepreneur from each region.
During the camp, participants were exposed to different domains of youth employability and empowerment such as gender and youth, sexual reproductive health rights and first aid, workplace norms and behaviors, orientation on CV development, job searching and matching, care guidance and interview techniques, migration and survival skill, peace-building, and social cohesion and conflict.
The purpose of the camp is to train youths and increase their awareness on employment opportunities in rural areas as well as to improve their resilience in their communities and increase their participation, inclusion and diversity in the job market, particularly in non farming economic enterprises.
Siiri Morley, Peace Corps The Gambia country director, said that Peace Corps is a US agency working in partnership with countries around the world.
She added that they are in the country through the invitation of the Gambia government to provide American skills and to partner on locally prioritizing projects working with counterparts in the communities.
She highlighted further that the Peace Corps has been in the country since 1967 while reiterating that they now focus on partnering on education, health, agriculture and the environment.
“We have partnerships with several ministries and local partners and that what they do is connected to the progress of the nation such as tree planting projects, building the capacity of teachers to work with child and maternal health clinics, and working on national development priorities.”
She added that she is very proud that Peace Corps The Gambia is working with youth on development. “We are working with youths to build world peace and friendship, building the strength of the community and I hope everyone finds some inspiration and ideas in this convergence.”
Jainaba, a Peace Corps volunteer from CRR, said she has spent about one and a half years in the country, saying she is almost at the end of her services. She added: “I enjoy staying in CRR and the youth camp is very interesting because we have got lots of things done and solved a lot of problems within The Gambia. During my stay in CRR, I learnt about Chossan and I am now fluent in the Fula language.”
Amilia Amiset Mendy, language and cultural facilitator and the Youth Coordinator for Peace Corps The Gambia, underscored the importance of the youth camp, saying it is about increasing youth awareness and employment opportunities across the country.
“We have 46 participants and facilitators from the Labour Department who dwelled on employment opportunities while other facilitators spoke about migration and survival skills and peacebuilding. We involve the youth because most of the things happening in the country involve young people. After graduating from high school or university, young people think that jobs are only available in the urban area while there are jobs available in the rural area that they can do,” she said.