Honourable Bakary Y. Badjie, Minister of Youth and Sports today inaugurate 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 stakeholder to be effective and efficient in working toward the objective of the centre, he implore all the stakeholders to continue supporting the project through the process to regain the GSI 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, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Finance and Administration (DPS) at the ministry who double as the focal person of the project, informed the committee members that there was 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 aim is to ensure youth employability through training, and gain meaningful employment, there is an urgent need for the ministries and development partners to harmonize its activities to help the GSI project to generate maximum impact on the lives of Gambian youth
Camara reassures the members of the ministry’s unflinching support to the PSC and the entire youth of the country.
Presenting on the activities of the project, Mamadou Ly, Technical Advisor of GSI gave a background history of the project and where it emanated from. He said the idea was first conceived by UNDP and MOYS in 2014.
When then Hon. Minister of MOYS and Madam Ade paid a visit to Songhai Regional Centre (SRC) in Port Novo –Benin Republic.
He asserted that in 2015 the first batch of trainees was 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 is to create youth agricbusiness entrepreneurs to curb the growing youth on irregular migration
Mr Ly informed the new PSC that the training duration of the centre is 12 months.
During the training, he discloses 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 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 the centre 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, specialized skills or training amongst others which were responded by the focal person of the project and technical advisor.
Mrs Juldeh Ceesay, DPS Finance said "we must do more resource mobilization as the government cannot do it alone" she butress.
she challenges members to create a strategy to ease there 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, Trade ministry focal person to GSI project said maize has to be farmed in GSI since 60% of the poultry feed comes from maize.
He disclose the revenue from poultry should also be used to sustain the project, this suggested that the management to use the business plan provided by the consultant as a guide in planning how the project sustain itself.