Tackling youth unemployment in rural areas in The Gambia

The Gambia Songhai Initiative (GSI) will help tackle multiple challenges in the country, including youth unemployment, environmental degradation and food insecurity, said youth and sports minister of The Gambia, Hadrammeh Sidibeh.

At the graduation ceremony of the fifth batch of trainees in North Bank Region village, he said: “It is also developed against the growing need to transform the agricultural sector into a productive, efficient, sustainable and remunerative enterprise.”

The GSI project was initiated by the government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Youth and Sports with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Since its launch in 2014, the centre has trained more than 200 young people across the country.

Songhai’s development model aims to create rural cities to reduce the rate of the rural-urban migration, and increasing opportunities in the farming sector for young people. The project provides farmers with greater access to the agriculture value chain, linking it to industrialisation and service provision, thereby making farming a more valuable proposition for youth, creating jobs and sustaining livelihoods.

Negotiations are now underway to increase the number of spaces in the student dormitories. “In addition, funds are secured from the Ministry of Finance for the rehabilitation of the student canteen to make it a modern cafeteria and provision of electricity supply from NAWEC,” Sidibeh said.

Abdou Touray, representative of UNDP resident coordinator, said the training offered by GSI will provide a solid pathway to employment. He added that the Songhai development model provides a mechanism to enhance youth productivity and their contribution to national economic growth.

“Together we can change and transform our economy, strengthen resilience of communities and individually eradicate poverty,” Touray said.

TMP – 26/12/2018

Photo caption: A team of trainees learning the best Agricultural best practices at the Gambia Songhai Initiative