Monday, October 31, 2016

Alarm Bell Ringing For Women, Youth to Develop Bankable Business Plans – Agric Director

The organisers said the aim of the training is to build the entrepreneurial skills of women and young people to reduce the dependency rate and to eradicate irregular migration to Europe.
The alarm bell is ringing for women and youth to develop bankable business plans, the Regional Agricultural Director for Central River Region South said on Monday.

Mr. Ousman M. Colley said this will help women and youth to access funding, particularly the agricultural matching grants available within projects in the country – when he spoke at a training of Rural Women and Youth on Business Planning and Management of Income Generating Activities.

The October 31-November 3, 2016 training at the regional education directorate in Basse, Upper River Region is funded by the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema) under the African Development Bank (AfDB) component, the Building Resilience against Food and Nutrition Insecurity in the Sahel (P2RS).

“We have millions in the coffers of the agricultural projects; because we cannot develop a bankable business plans, the grants are not moving,” Mr. Colley said.

He said agricultural projects are doing their utmost best in making funds accessible - that is why they do project launchings in all the regions and conducting several trainings and sensitization events to reach rural Gambians.

Colley said that with a small amount one can start up a good business. He said a well-developed business plan is critical for any start-up business.

On behalf of the governor of URR, Mr. Victor Baldeh, said he recognized the Nema project’s efforts in building the skills of rural women and youth on entrepreneurship, business planning and management.

“Agricultural projects are supporting and improving the livelihoods of rural youth and women,” he said. “It is through trainings of this kind, beneficiaries will have the opportunity to access the matching grants.”

Mr. Banky Njie, Nema/P2RS Business Development Officer, said the P2RS will train 150 young people (male and female), and women intending to develop their skills in business planning and how to manage and increase their income in a chosen business activity.

Two similar training to be held in Jenoi, Lower River Region will involve participants from Central River Region South and the North Bank Region.

“At the end of the three trainings, we will do an assessment of the participants. Successful participants will graduate to the next stage, where some funding will be provided to them,” Mr. Njie said.

He said these participants would have to demonstrate entrepreneurial competencies and willingness to use those funds to scale up or start their businesses.

He also said a further capacity building programme will be linked with the funding to provide continuous training, mentoring and coaching for this group to enable them to better manage and grow their businesses and make them more employable within the agricultural value chain.

Mr. Ade Joseph Taylor, Managing Partner, Executive Group Ltd, recognised AfDB’s efforts in this initiative. He said with the calibre of trainers and mentors provided to facilitate the training, the “future of the rural women and youth is optimistic.”

Mr. Sanna Jaina, Nema focal point and an agriculture officer who chaired the opening ceremony, said the training sessions will include question and answer, individual and group exercises and step-by-step guide of participants in developing live business plans.

Eradicate irregular migration

The organisers said the aim of the training is to build the entrepreneurial skills of women and young people to reduce the dependency rate and to eradicate irregular migration to Europe – locally known as the “back way”.

Undertaking perilous journeys to Europe via deserts and high seas has been the thought of many young Gambians (male and female) – who often cite the “lack of opportunities” at home.

Since 2010, more than 500 Gambians have died trying to reach Europe in rickety boats and via dangerous deserts.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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