By Ndey Sowe
A total of 100 youths have recently graduated from a pilot vocational training program organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Banjul with the aim of equipping young Gambians with the requisite skill and knowledge in entrepreneurial ventures and employment.
This initiative is part of IOM’s program of providing viable alternatives to irregular migration.
The course which lasted between 6 and 12 weeks saw young men and women learned both technical and entrepreneurial skills including business administration, financial management and customer service.
Four separate courses on satellite installation, laptop repairs, solar panel installation and mobile phone repairs, were held for participants at the Gambia Telecommunications and Multimedia Institute (GTMI) in the West Coast and the Upper River Regions respectively.
The program was designed to identify market gaps, demands and opportunities in the West Coast and Upper River Regions after a baseline assessment, because these two regions represent the first and third highest in terms of origin of Gambian migrants.
While laptops and satellites are more widely used in peri-urban and West Coast Regions, the demand for mobile phone repairs and solar panels was higher in the Upper River Region.
Each of the students received a toolbox to enhance their ability to engage in income generating activities. In addition, IOM will establish a revolving micro-credit fund for participants to access, especially those who have developed viable business proposals after their training.
A similar program is being processed by the IOM for establishment in the North Bank Region. The training was funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).