By Kebba Mamburay
Migrant Media Network (MMN) on Thursday launched its project in the Gambia in their quest to contribute towards providing credible, reliable and factual information to potential migrants to make informed choices.
The project is sponsored by the rOg Agency- a German registered NGO that supports sustainable and hybrid forms of cultural innovation and social enterprise in the Global south.
According to Mr Dembo Kambi, the appointed Country Coordinator for MMN Gambia chapter, said they are going to operate in four regions, namely, West Coast Region, Lower River Region, North Bank Region and Upper River Region.
He said they have understood that the aforesaid four regions are hit hard by irregular migration. As a result, he said they agreed to work in those four regions to talk to people and give them migration choices, be it internal or external migration. He said they are not condemning migration in anyway.
Kambi further said the Gambia is one of the least developed countries in the world with 48.4% of the population, living on less than $1.25 per day. He said the economy relied primarily on agriculture, tourism and remittances and it is prone to external shock, climate variations, and impact and traditional agricultural sector which mostly constituted rain fed agriculture and low productivity activities dominate the economy.
He said internal migration flow is also common in the country and involves at least a quarter of the population.
He said: “The vast majority of internal migrants head towards the urban area and internal migration has profoundly shaped the population distribution from largely rural country before independence.”
Kambi said the Gambia is also an immigration country with 9.7% of the population recorded as being international migrants such as Senegalese, Guineans, Nigerians, Malians, Sierra-Leoneans and other nationals.
Mr. Pa Malick Ceesay, the Deputy Director National Youth Council (NYC), said his office is mandated to coordinate the affairs of young people of this country by law as well as to support services when and where necessary.
He added that NYC will render supports to MMN in the area of capacity, particularly in any project that has to deal with migration issues in this country.
“The National Youth Council will continue to help and support this particular initiative. As discussed in our office with our Chairperson, we will deploy our financial and human resources particularly our migration officer to ensure that he works closely with Mr. Kambi, the Country coordinator, MMN,” he said.
Ms. Jsabell Blochl, the representative of the German embassy, shared her elation to attend the kick-off event for the Migrant Media Network project in The Gambia, a project financed by the German Federal Republic.
Blochl added that the back way is dangerous and reminded the gathering about the boat that capsized in the coast of Mauritania in December, 2019 which originally sailed from Barra and claimed lots of lives. She said she paid a visit to the Gambian Navy and shared a conversation with Commander Senghore who told her that “every lost Gambian soul is one to many.”
“This is why projects like MMN are so important. What I like about this project is that, it engages young people in dialogue and gives them amongst other things the tools necessary to see part of the lies of the smugglers,” she said.
She thanked the stakeholders and the Ministry of Youth and Sports and further wished the participants all the best. The project also includes the training of trainers.
Mr. Ousman Fatty, The Chairman of the National Youth Council, deputizing the minister of youth and sports, urged the participants to take the training and the course seriously. He said the project would help in curbing migration issues in The Gambia.
“We all know that illegal migration is a very serious issue and over 90% of those affected are young people. So, this project is really welcomed and we are thankful to Germany for the project,” he said.