By Siakou Suwareh Jabai 

The National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), has started five days of entrepreneurship training for migrant returnees at the Rural Development Institute (RDI), in Mansakonko, Lower River Region.

The workshop, which began on Saturday June 30th 2018, seeks to enable returnees to re-establish themselves in society and further empower them to participate in the social, cultural, economic and political life of the Gambia.

According to officials, the outcome of the training will motivate migrant returnees harness their diverse creativity into enterprise creation, at the same time instil in them the virtues of economic empowerment, by being drivers of their own economy.

Mustapha Badjie, Program Manager at NEDI, believes that the programs they have, will help to support in no small measure, the success of the returnees, by reintegrating them in Gambian society.

“The workshop is to link training to jobs. This is to ensure effective and sustainable creation of youth enterprises within the country, because we discovered gaps in our delivery service. To bridge these gaps, we now link training to jobs. This is why during the training, we bring key partners to do presentations and discuss how they can access their products and services which will directly or indirectly transform training skills or knowledge, into enterprises through their support. Key among the partners is the YEP Mini-Grant, Agricultural Projects and Qodoo Mobile Money,” he said.

“We will do monitoring and evaluation to know the impact and challenges faced by these beneficiaries, during the implementation of their enterprises. We will work towards upscaling their enterprises through study tours, particularly to Senegal and in trade fairs within the country, to expose and promote their products and services,” he explained.

Dawda Ceesay, PS at the Ministry of Youth and Sport (MOYS), said his Ministry has a strategic vision in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), on areas of youth productive engagements through series of interventions with NEDI, NYC, NYS and PIA; that Government recognizes the need to evolve pragmatic and workable strategies, that can impact positively on the socio-economic challenges confronting Gambian youth and migrant returnees in particular.

He assured that his ministry will continue to support and complement the efforts of NEDI to stay relevant, sustainable and serve the purpose of youth enterprise and entrepreneurship development.

Kulaymang Conteh, a participant and potential entrepreneur, described the training as important to him as a would-be entrepreneur, because it will build his capacity on business management.

He said entrepreneurship is a trade that can move one from poverty to wealth and address youth unemployment problems in the country.

Fatou Cham, a migrant returnee and potential entrepreneur, said the training will help her link to other opportunities in the field of entrepreneurship.

She stressed that since she came back, she could not have any support anywhere; that she is asked to produce a certificate on entrepreneurship and cannot access any support even from the YEP’s Mini Grant. “I believed that after this training, I will have an opportunity to be supported through the YEP mini grant and other projects in the country, through NEDI and other partners,” she concluded.

The training is funding by Government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sport.

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