Monday, May 22, 2017

GYIN Gambia ELIT 2017: Expanding Youth Development Through Entrepreneurial Mentorship

ELIT 2016 participants pose for an opening photo in Jenoi, Lower River Region (Photo Credit: Modou S. Joof/GYIN Gambia/July 2016)

Churchill’s Town, The Gambia – The Global Youth Innovation Network Gambia Chapter (GYIN Gambia) will hold its 2nd Edition of the National Youth Summer Camp from July 23-August 1, 2017.

This year’s Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Information and Technology (ELIT 2017) Summer Camp will allow young people to become rural mentors in their own regions as well as other regions in the country.

The 10-day event will hold under the theme –ELIT 2017: Expanding Youth Development through Entrepreneurial Mentorship. It is aimed at establishing a rural mentorship programme; sharing knowledge and experience on entrepreneurship, agribusiness and youth development issues; seeking business opportunities and networking; and to design a rural youth employment survey plan.

Activities will take the form of conferences, individual and group presentations, quizzes, comedy, culture; field visits to agricultural project sites (rice and poultry farms), markets; and case studies on youth mentorship programmes.

Forty (45) youths from across all regions of the country aged 18 to 35 are to participate in the event. Venue and call for application will be announced shortly.

ELIT 2016 participants work on business plan (Photo Credit: Modou S. Joof/GYIN Gambia/July 2016)
Subsequent editions of the ELIT starting from 2017 are designed to build up on the interest and potential recognition in the youth and further this dream into an authoritative document which will serve as a developmental guide. 

“This is because the absence of a domestic and all inclusive baseline source on youth participation in national development is a leading challenge to designing such a project in the name of young people,” says Mr. Ebrima Bah, Chairperson of ELIT 2017.

“Interestingly, the 2016 camp successfully compelled many of its participants to either expand their scope of business ventures or began to dip their legs into more meaningful associations with a view to inspire themselves for community development.

“Out of thirty contestants, nine of the first batch of ELIT were shortlisted in the first edition of the Rural Youth Award out of which four won the awards in the categories of Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Young Emerging Business of the Year, Young Information Technology of the Year, and Young Business Innovation Business of the Year by a verdict of independent panelists.”

ELIT 2016 Participants on farm visit (Photo Credit: Modou S. Joof/GYIN Gambia/July 2016)
Mr. Mamadou Edrisa Njie, GYIN Gambia Executive Director, says a gap of technology and user competences between urban and rural youths, which often presents itself in access differentials was identified prior to the camp. Aware of the potential of technology in improving community development, the camp introduced the teaching of the subject as core for participants.

“This time, it will be interesting to partner up the most skillful computer users with those less exposed to the system with a view to allow peer learning during the camp,” he says. “The ELIT 2017 will facilitate the launch of the Youth Mentorship Programme to raise-up momentum of knowledge sharing on entrepreneurship, leadership and informational technology.”

By way of the mentorship programme, GYIN Gambia Rural Youth Awardees (Youth Champions) will be presented as exemplary team by the GYIN Gambia Secretariat at ELIT 2017. Having them as Rural Youth Mentors would strengthen their potentials to expand their enterprises and inspire their mentees on entrepreneurship and business technology.

“One of the core values of ELIT is to transform knowledge and skills into performance-oriented ventures. Therefore, this strategy will not only address the crises of unemployment, it will also bridge the gender gap in the labour market thus address several other social ills such as irregular migration (back-way) and rural urban drift. 

Early morning jogging, football, volleyball, farm visits are a usual feature at ELIT summer camp (Photo Credit: Modou S. Joof/GYIN Gambia/July 2016)
“ELIT 2017 is designed with special emphasises in the agricultural value chain - production, processing, and marketing of crops by young people which is a scientific model in the fight against poverty.”

The Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) is an international youth network supported by the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Its Gambian chapter specialises in rural development by supporting rural youths to become self-reliant.

For press enquiries, contact:

Mr. Ebrima Bah, Chairperson ELIT 2017 Tel: +220 7580434

Mr. Mamadou Edrisa Njie, GYIN Gambia Executive Director
+220 3938929

Mr. Modou S. Joof, GYIN Gambia Secretary General
+220 2122784

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