By Saikou Suwareh Jabai in NBR.
The Gambia Chapter of Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) on Saturday 28th April, 2018, staged a successful award ceremony for rural youths in Chamen, North Bank Region (NBR).
The theme for this year’s Rural Youth Award is “Linking stakeholders in the agricultural value chain from fields to mouths – Increasing food production processing and marketing to provide decent jobs for rural youths.”
Officials say the award is aimed at identifying, promoting and elevating young entrepreneurs who are using innovation, passion and commitment to change their lives and by extension contribute to the development of their communities.
The day began with an experience sharing session between the organization’s trained-mentors and the award nominees. The mentors advised them to be creative and to capitalize on their comparative advantages to hoist their businesses.
Speaking at the award ceremony, GYIN-Gambia Executive Director, Mamadou Edrisa Njie, highlighted the significance of the award, saying it will go far enough in enhancing the business initiatives of the awardees.
While congratulating the nominees for being shortlisted for the prestigious award, Njie said the award came as a recommendation from participants of their 2016Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Information Technology Education (ELITE ) Camp. He said the nominees will all be trained as mentors and went on to urge the winners to make best use of the recognition and the financial gesture given.
Ebrima Sowe, the Director of Gambia Songhai Initiative (GSI), where the event was held, expressed delight for being chosen to host the ceremony. He said the award will offer participants the chance to network and share experiences for the advancement of their respective businesses.
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Adama Ngum Njie, said agriculture is one of the main drivers of the country’s economy and thus the active engagement of young people in the sector is a prerequisite for development.
While urging them to redouble their efforts for the promotion of commercial agriculture, she assured GYIN of the ministry’s continuous assistance.
National Youth Council Programme Officer, Mberry Jobe, commended GYIN for the initiative saying it will have far-reaching impact in significantly reducing youth irregular migration and rural-urban drift. Poverty reduction, which she mentioned, should be a collective concern for all stakeholders. Jobe urged the winners to make best use of the award.
Raimund Moser, Project Manager of Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), said the nomination of the awardees indicates how committed they are in making impacts in their various communities.
“There is recognition of hard work and success in the award,” he told nominees.
He said all the nominees are winners for they have been recognized for the award. YEP Manager said the nominees are now role models and enjoined them to share knowledge and experience with their colleagues.
“We can only help you to get where you want to be, it’s you who are getting there,” he noted.
The Chairman of the award’s Organizing Committee, Muhammed Lamin F. Kinteh, spoke at length about the activities carried out in their quest to hold a credible and successful award ceremony. He said the judgement for the award was fair and that it was administered by independent judges.
Kinteh, who was hailed for his committee’s commitment in the successful implementation of the award ceremony, urged the nominees to keep on striving as better opportunities are ahead for them.
The ceremony’s chief guest speaker, Fatou Saine Gaye, advised the participants to be committed and work towards achieving their dreams.
“Successful entrepreneurs set goals that are challenges because they calculate their risks very well,” she said. Fatou, who is the CEO of Gai Ngorro Skills Training Center, described rural youths as ‘champions’ and asked that they innovate and add value to their products and services.
While congratulating the awardees, she urged rural youths to abstain from ‘back-way’ and make use of the opportunities available in creating gainful employment opportunities for themselves,
Below is a list of the winners.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year = Musa Jaiteh of Farafenni, North Bank Region
Young Agribusiness of the Year = Hatabou Jaiteh of Kartong, West Coast Region.
Best Packaging and Labelling of Products of the Year = Lamin Keita of Tendaba, Lower River Region.
Young Business Idea of the Year = Mamud Ndow of Farafenni, North Bank Region.
Young Emerging Business of the Year = Omar Trawally of Kerr Biram, North Bank Region.
Young Commercial Farmer of the Year = Hatta Boye of Boiram, Central River Region.
Young Business Innovation of the Year = Alfu M. Sarr of Ndofan, North Bank Region.
The Global Youth Innovation Network Gambia Chapter (GYIN) is a national youth network operating across the country, supporting rural development by facilitating rural youths to engage in entrepreneurship, agribusiness, agro-tech and leadership.