The graduation of first batch of the Youth Mentorship Programme by the Global Youth Innovation Network in the Gambia was celebrated on Saturday, 10th February, 2018 at the Rural Development Institute (RDI) in Mansakonko, Lower River Region.

The programme enlisted twenty five young people who went through an intensive three months mentoring on enterprise management with support from the Youth Empowerment Project.

In his introductory remark, Executive Director of Global Youth Innovation Network, Mamadou Edrisa Njie said that graduation represented a successful pilot to a larger component of youth mentorship business in the country. He remarked that enrolment to the mentorship programme was opened to young people who have once attended either of the Entrepreneurial, Leadership, and Information Technology (ELIT) summer camp; Rural Entrepreneurship Venture Creation and Experimental Learning (REVCEL); Rural Youth Award (RYA) finalists, all powered by GYIN – Gambia; or proof of training on business fundamentals from any recognise institution within or outside the country.

He embraced the support the European Union (EU) through the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and partnership with the Managers’ Prescription Consultancy Firm on the programme. The guest speaker for the occasion, Musa Bah who is Senior Education Officer (SEO) at the Regional Education Directorate in Mansakonko, and recently appointed Justice of Peace (JP) said it is out of his knowledge that GYIN – Gambia has clear goal and realistic vision. He stated that the association’s activities are in line with Sustainable Development Goals such as the target to end poverty, hunger, promotion of agriculture, and promotion of good health and wellbeing.

The educationist, cum Justice of Peace asserted that, mentorship being a professional relationship between a more experienced person and a mentee who is less experienced is a performance oriented teaching and learning process.

“One of the most important aspects in a mentorship is the hope it gives to young persons on the availability of resourceful persons who care about them. As a result, the mentee is compelled to meet all expectations on the subject of the mentorship.”

While noting that developing countries such as the Gambia need to adopt mentorship programmes as part of its development agendas, he challenged the graduands to translate their skills into actions.

Speaking on behalf of the implementing partners, Ousman Sonko, Managing Partner, Managers’ Prescription Consultancy Firm stated that the three month long exercise has recruited fully fledged mentors on business enterprises.

He said the task being first of its kind for his team of trainers, the journey was not smooth as it required meeting of complete coverage of their training modules, and thorough attention to mentees’ individual case differences.

Mr Sonko expressed conviction that, the trained mentees are prepared to give mentorship services, and improve on their own business perceptions irrespective of given resources, and challenges.

Raimund Moser, Project Manager of Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) noted that the idea resulting to the support of his project is the potential in the mentorship programme to earn more young people good share in local and global markets. Judging by the graduation trend, he said the cycle of mentorship will eventually entangle the entire youth population if the mentees becomes mentors and mentors become supervisors.

The YEP project manager encouraged the graduands to build on their business foundations and take advantage of the grand initiative through his office meant to reinforce the efforts of young people in the Gambia. Kemo Sawo, a Mentee from Wuli Fadiakunda, Upper River Region (URR) said the mentorship programme has helped him to develop his business based on the skill he learned.

He hailed the efforts of GYIN Gambia for reaching out to him in Wuli as well as to be part of this mentorship programme which, according to him, has made him proud in his community because he is the first person to be part of a mentorship programme.

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