President Barrow Receives WAYAS, MDI Delegates

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Information from State House in Banjul indicates that President Barrow received delegates from WAYAS and the Management Development Institute (MDI) on the 26th of April2024, who briefed him on the activities of WAYAS in providing a counseling course on mental health at the MDI, and in offering mental health assessment and treatment to people in The Gambia and The Gambian Diaspora, since its establishment in 2019.

The information indicates that the partnership between WAYAS and MDI was also discussed.

According to the information, President Barrow expressed enthusiasm in empowering Gambians to live healthy and fulfilling lives and therefore expressed delight as WAYAS mission aligns with his vision to provide quality education to Gambians, and the provision of professional counseling impacts on the lives of individuals, families and communities.

On his part, the Deputy Director of MDI Ms. Barry said the country has a shortage of qualified counselors, and the training of over 40 students by WAYAS in partnership with the MDI, will close this gap. Ms. Barry was also delightful of WAYAS partnership with MDI, adding that a counseling unit is needed in every educational setting.

The training, according to the information, provides tools and insight in the management of mental issues such as anxiety and depression and that the training ranges from responding to mental health difficulties to using brief interventions to help people get on track. The trainees are said to be from different works of life in the social work field, teaching and nursing.

In a similar but separate engagement, President Barrow commended members of AUF for their initiative when they visited him atState House in Banjulon the 26th of April2024. AgenceUniversitaire de la Francophonie’s (AUF) West-Africa Regional Director Professor Oiudad Tebba and delegation visited President Barrow to brief him on the AUF Conference on scientific publication and academic mobility.

The President warmly welcomed AUF Rector Professor Slim Khalmous and the Regional Director and thanked them for supporting the University of The Gambia with lecturers, after noting the challenges of maintaining highly qualified lecturers. The President appreciated the confidence AUF has in The Gambia for hosting its annual conference.

The AUF programme has supported the University of The Gambia in terms of academic mobility and the development of the first employability centre in Brikama to support students in their careers and in creating new job opportunities.

“Student’s experience is a key aspect of what we are trying to do so that we can have expertise across the continent,”UTG Vice-Chancellor, Professor Robinson, said, expressing gratitude to AUF for such an initiative designed to transform the mindset of students.

“Our students will have the opportunity to be mentored and trained on various aspects, particularly by creating their own jobs,” he added.

Reacting to the news of establishing a fully equipped employability Centre in Brikama to prepare students for life after University, President Barrow expressed delight that this would link education and employment opportunities for students to leave the University with a mind that they could create their own job opportunities. He asserted the importance of students having confidence in taking their livelihood initiatives, and emphasised that such initiatives would align with his Government’s reforms to bring new initiatives that will impact on people’s lives.

UTG is a non-French member of the AUF, with over a thousand members.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. MamadouTangara, Minister for MoHERST Professor Pierre Gomez and Permanent Secretary Dr Yusupha Touray, accompanied the AUF team to the State House.