By Aisha Tamba
A regional skills training programme within the framework of the EU-funded Tekki Fii project was recently launched in Basse – URR.
It was launched by GIZ International Services, a German agency for development cooperation.
The programme hopes to make young Gambians see the benefits of choosing to ‘Make It Here’ – or Tekki Fii in Wolof – by tapping into economic opportunities in the country rather than embarking on perilous sea journeys to reach Europe in search of “so-called greener pastures”.
GIZ International Services is one of the implementing partners of the ‘Tekki Fii’ project, which is being sponsored by the EU Trust Fund for Africa.
The training will be targeting youths of the Upper River Region, by training them on a 12 months courses in garment-making, welding and farm tools repairing, solar PV installation, beauty and cosmetology, tiling, block laying etcetera.
Regional youth chairman Mahamadou Ceesay, praised the initiative and highlighted that skills are a pathway to prosperity and personal development.
“They are a driver for competitiveness and growth,” he stated.
The GIZ project management Fabio Germanno, said the training programme is designed to tackle the great challenges of unemployment in the region and deliver quality training courses.
“We have worked hard with curriculum development experts and the ministry of higher education to ensure that we came here with a comprehensive curriculum training programme that can equip young people with the necessary tools to enter the job market and find suitable employment or find opportunities to employ themselves. This way they don’t have to leave the country for greener pastures,” Fabio said.
The governor of URR, Fanta BS Manneh, thanked GIZ for the programme.
She said: “We have been talking about youth empowerment and the ‘backway’ syndrome.
This project is here to set us free.
As a region this project should be embraced by everybody.”
She added that the purpose of the project is to advocate and promote technical training in The Gambia, saying “We have realised that this is an area that have been left back for many years.
We think everyone should be seated in an office; that we should all have white collar jobs.
“In fact, we have realised that [that belief that everone should have an office job] is what is setting us back.
Skills development programmes are missing in The Gambia.
We have realised that this is what is forcing most of our youths to leave the country to take the journey that is call ‘back way’,” she said.