By Ndey Sowe / Awa Touray

The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), on Wednesday January 30th 2019, handed over equipment worth D1.5 million worth of equipment, to 168 young people at a program held at the Gambia Telecommunications and Multimedia Institute’s (GTMI) conference hall.

According to officials, 168 young Gambians have successfully completed various skills training programs at GTMI and Sterling Consortium. The young people were drawn from different parts of the country, and were trained in areas such as solar installation, CCTV installation and programing, satellite installation and programing and mobile and laptop repairs amongst others.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Raimund Moser, the YEP Manager said the project will soon be two years old; that during this period, they have done a skills gap analysis to identify opportunities for young Gambians; that in early 2018, following the launch of the National Development Plan (NDP), YEP launched a strategic youth and trade development road map for the years 2018 to 2022.

“The lack of opportunities to undertake a training program in technical and vocational areas, were identified as key challenges to tackle in order to achieve this vision,” he said.

He applauded the graduates for their determination and wished them the best in their future careers. He expresses gratitude to Government and the EU for their support, trust and partnership with YEP.

Hadrammeh Sidibeh, the Minister Youth and Sport in his hand-over statement, said the provision of the equipment was an important step to create and boost youth employment and entrepreneurial opportunities; that Government under the leadership of Adama Barrow through his Ministry, has put youth at the center of the NDP; that YEP is a flagship initiative and embodies their focus and determination to create more opportunities for young Gambians.

“My Ministry and some of its satellite institutions like the PIA, NYSS, NEDI and NYC, are pleased to be associated with YEP, and are closely working together for skills acquisition and empowerment of Gambian youth,” he noted. He thanked YEP, International Trade Center (ITC) and the EU, for the initiative, progress and immense support. He urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the training they have benefited from as well as the equipment they have received, to create sustainable jobs for themselves and their communities.

Stephane Meer, the head of cooperation at the EU, said skills and knowledge are the currency of the 21st century; that the Gambia has a youthful population and Government is committed to leave no youth behind; that tackling youth unemployment is at the center of ‘our’ development agenda.

“The EU is proud to support Government in their effort to empower youth in different sectors or areas,” he cited.

He urged the young people to be committed; that with the right attitude and hard work, they will be able to generate income, grow their businesses and open their workshops in future. Other speakers include Kebba Sillah, CEO Sterling Consortium and Malick Bah.

The AG Director of GTMI dwelled on the significance of training and services his institution offered to the young people, and commended the EU for funding the course for them, as well as Government for creating the conducive environment, and urged YEP to continue their support to young people.

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