YMCA partnership bears fruit in The Gambia
In 2019–2022, we provided vocational training and entrepreneurship education to a total of 400 young people in partnership with the Gambia YMCA. The graduation ceremony concretised a new phase in the lives of the young people.
Martiina Woodson | Kaisa Strömberg
A successful four-year period
During the project period, we trained a total of 400 young people in partnership with the Gambian YMCA. Half of the young people who graduated received a package of professional materials to speed up their business start-up. Training was provided in a total of 13 sectors. Of the young people trained during the project period, 219 were men and 181 were women. Of the total number of young people, 139 were returning migrants. We also promoted awareness of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda through seminars, trainings and YMCA Peacemakers activities.
Vocational training and business contacts
The training courses for young people are pre-vocational courses. The YMCA provides training for young people in 13 different sectors, including beauty, cooking and construction. The training takes place both in the YMCA’s educational facilities and in companies as work-based learning modules. Working with businesses improves the skills of the young workforce while developing their employability skills and networks.
Graduation ceremony looks to the future
The graduation ceremony gives a concrete expression to the graduation of young people and the opportunity to enter a more financially secure phase of their lives. At the graduation ceremony in early March 2023, young people from the Greater Banjul and West Coast Regions of The Gambia received their vocational training certificates. Half of the graduates also received a starter kit for help to establishing a small business, including sewing machines, tools for electrical and plumbing work or cooking equipment such as stoves, pots and blenders for catering.
The most recent graduates are young people trained in 2022. In turn, some of the young people who graduated earlier are now working as trainers for vocational students, providing traineeships for new students in the companies they set up.
Studies offer a vision for the future
Priscilla Dunn, Project Coordinator at the Gambia YMCA, reflected on the importance of vocational training in her speech to young people:
–The impact of the opportunities like these are a contribution to ensuring that the youth of The Gambia rises from poverty and unemployment so that they achieve a fulfilled life. During these four years we have been able to rise above our challenges and make adjustments to ensure that our project activities are met despite Covid, inflation and increase of prices of commodities.
The Gambia trip highlights key cooperation objectives
Our annual monitoring mission is designed to ensure that the objectives of the development cooperation programme are being met, together with our YMCA partners. Timed to coincide with graduation, the trip also outlined plans for the remainder of the programme and explored the potential for expansion of the YMCA training centre.