By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gold Award Holders Association (GAHA) on Tuesday 11 August officially launched the second edition of the national expedition summer camp 2023.
The event was held under the theme “Amplifying efforts to Bring the Glory days of the Award Program in the Gambia”, and is aimed at among other things to expose the participants of the summer camp trial expedition to some of the amenities and facilities that are found in the urban areas.
Speaking at the event, Fatoumatta F Sanyang, the Regional Coordinator for West Coast Region, said GAHA compliments the efforts of the President’s International Award fondly called the PIA, as they approach the upcoming trial expedition camp 2023.
Sanyang, who also doubles as the Chairperson of the National Organizing Committee of GAHA Trial Expedition, said the expedition is within their award program, and it allows the participants, including those outside of the program, to learn about the program and share their experiences.
She echoed, “The award has always been the limelight of youth activity in the Gambia and the goal behind the event is to bring those glory days and make sure that PIA is here to stay,”.
Ida Jeng, Acting Program Manager at National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI), assured that NEDI would be given their full support to the event, as a key partner in the journey, pledging to provide the requisite standards that GAHA deserved.
Mustapaha Sonko, Migration Officer at the National Youth Council, assured their readiness to join GAHA in reactivating the program, to inter alia ensure that the capacities of the young people of the country are built.
“More than 70 percent of the country’s population is young people, and therefore having the summer camp where the youth will be converged is crucial for NYC. The country needs leaders that are actually trained in the areas of leadership and good governance, and entrepreneurship,” he said.
He added that such convergence would help them to have good leaders that could bridge the unemployment gaps in the country.
Baboucarr Kebbeh, National Chairman of GAHA, remarked: “The objective of organizing the summer camp is to continue engaging the young people to be part of the award program. Looking at the award for the past 10 years, we used to have a huge number of participants which stood at about 25 thousand young people in the Gambia.”
He, however, said that at some point, they realized that some of the participants have moved into other activities and they are using the platform to recruit new faces into the award program.
“One of the steps to get into the award program is for the participants to get into the trial expedition, in getting the participants into the award program proper. So, it serves as a testing phase for the young person who wishes to be part of the award program,” he explicated.
Pa Malick Ceesay, the Executive Director of the PIA, said the expedition is aimed at three thematic issues, and among them is a 15-kilometer expedition ( meaning that all the participants will walk for 15 kilometers), sporting activities such as beach football, and community services for participants to grab an award.
PIA, he said, currently has a skill and enterprise development center, which meets the criteria of NAAQA, and the courses and tutors are accredited by the authority. “We offer certificate courses in auto mechanics, tailoring and fashion design, welding, metal fabricating, electrical installation, carpentry and plumbing for a 2-year period, and we are currently making bread and the curriculum is ready,” he said.