Songhai Development Model-Gambia Project
The Gambia is a youthful nation with over 60% of its population under the age of 30 years. However, unemployment among the youth is highest and remains a major national challenge. Of the employment youth, only 20% are in the agricultural sector. Yet agriculture is the most critical sector for economic expansion to absorb unemployed youth, boost food production and for poverty reduction. Addressing rural youth needs is therefore fundamental to achieving the MDGs, particularly Target 16 ‘to develop and implement strategies for decent and productive work for youth’, and the other MDG targets to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, promote gender equality, empower women, and ensure environmental sustainability.
The project is fully aligned with The Gambian Government’s objectives of empowering farmers, agricultural growth, wealth creation and poverty reduction. The proposed project activities for developing an innovative rural entrepreneurial center (Green Rural City) would provide a strong foundation for rural growth and a springboard that will create a “spread effect” in The Gambia and beyond. It is expected to:
1) Improve rural, peri-urban and urban livelihoods,
2) Increase incomes of the rural poor,
3) Enhance opportunities for decent employment for youth, women and the unemployed, through interventions that would stimulate investment in sustainable agro-enterprise development, promote environmentally sustainable waste management practices and create incentives for private sector engagement. and
4) Promote efficient land and water management
The overarching goal of this project is to sustainably reduce poverty, unemployment and food insecurity by tackling the root causes and deploying proven strategies for achieving large scale and lasting impact. The primary objectives are to promote inclusive agriculture sector growth and employment. These objectives have direct causal linkages to sustainably reducing poverty and socio-political instability.
- The establishment of functional project governance structures e.g. Project Steering and Technical Advisory Committees;
- The ongoing six month training of 30 youths at Songhai Benin Centre;
- Government handed over the Chamen Centre with some basic equipment and facilities to the project;
- Sensitization of diverse stakeholders of the project.
- Technical and advisory mission expected from Songhai-Benin from 12th to 20th April 2015
- The project management team instituted supported by two newly recruited technical officers;
- Land preparation, sowing of crops and vegetable gardening commenced;
- Two vehicles, computers, printers and other office supplies procured and being used for the project coordinator.
- 30 Youth trainees at Songhai Regional Centre will graduate on 26th July 2015. The Hon Minister of Youth and Sports and UNDP Resident Representative will attend to grace the occasion;
- Recruitment of 40 (20 male, 20 female) youth trainees will be completed on the 28th July, 2015 at the Chamen Centre.
UNDP allocated, US$1, 255,450 to support the project, while Government of The Gambia provided the Centre, Land, Assets and Equipment.