Y Badjie, Minister of Youth and Sports recently inaugurated a new project steering committee (PSC) for the Gambia Songhai Initiative (GSI), an institute under his Ministry.
In his inaugural statement, the minister called on the stakeholders to be effective and efficient in working toward the objective of the centre. He implored all the stakeholders to continue supporting the project through the process to regain the GSIBakary centre.
He disclosed that the whole objective of the project is to support young people and discourage irregular migration.
Badjie reminded the PSC that the overarching goal of the project is to sustainably reduce poverty, unemployment and food insecurity by tackling their root causes and deploying proven strategies for achieving sustainable youth development.
Lamin A Camara, the deputy permanent secretary of Finance and Administration (DPS) at the ministry, doubling as the focal person of the project, informed the committee members that there was a PSC established since the inception in 2015 but not very active.
He said the project started in 2015 and trained young people on modern techniques of Agriculture which developed against the growing need to transform the agricultural sector into a productive, efficient, sustainable and remunerative enterprise, especially among youth.
He reiterated that the ideal is in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) priority objectives of the government of The Gambia.
DPS Camara stated that the ministry’s aim is to ensure youth employability through training, and gain meaningful employment. He said there is an urgent need for the ministries and development partners to harmonise activities to help the GSI project generate maximum impact on the lives of Gambian youth
Mamadou Ly, technical advisor of GSI gave a background of the project and where it emanated from. He said the idea was first conceived by UNDP and MOYS in 2014.
He asserted that in 2015 the first batch of trainees were sent to SRC for six months after the signing of five years institutional contract between the Government of The Gambia and SRC funded by UNDP.
He said it aimed to create young agri-business entrepreneurs to curb the growing youth migration through the backway.
Mr Ly informed the new PSC that the training duration of the centre is 12 months.
During the training, he added students’ feeding, housing, minor medical expenses and a monthly stipend of one thousand dalasis (D1000) are provided by the government through the ministry and additional D1000 keep for them as saving every month till end of their training.
Ly told the new PSC that the training is on integrated farming system specialised in the following fields: – poultry production, vegetable production; small and large ruminant production; agro-forestry; and soil management.
He said they have currently enrolled their ninth badge of trainees and the primary objective is to promote inclusive agricultural sector growth and employment.
After the presentation, questions were raised on the floor on the requirement for enrolment, the establishment of business, specialised skills or training amongst others which were responded by the focal person of the project and technical adviser
Mrs Juldeh Ceesay, DPS, Ministry of Finance said “we must do more resource mobilisation as the government cannot do it alone.”
She challenged members to create a strategy to ease their work to the process.
She added they need to ensure that all stakeholders invest in the project to help the graduands attain their goals after completing their studies.
Aziz Balla Gaye, the ministry of trade focal person to GSI, said maize has to be farmed in GSI since 60 percent of the poultry feed comes from maize.
He disclosed the revenue from poultry should also be used to sustain the project.