Preparations are in high gear for the much awaited 2nd Edition of the Rural Youth Award 2018 schedule on the 27- 28 April, 2018 at The Gambia Songhai Initiative (GSI), Chamen, North Bank Region (NBR).
This year’s award is expected to gather more than 300 delegates, under the theme “Linking Stakeholders in the Agricultural Value Chain, from Fields to Mouths: Increase Food Production, Processing, and Marketing to provide decent jobs for rural youths.”
Speaking to journalists at the launch of the National Award Organising Committee on Tuesday, at GYIN Gambia Secretariat, Ambassador Mamadou Edrisa Njie, the executive director, GYIN Gambia, said the award is meant to recognize and celebrate the successes of rural youth in entrepreneurship, tourism, agribusiness and information and communication technology.
He said it is also meant to encourage rural youth entrepreneurs to venture into agribusiness (production, processing and marketing) of home grown products.
He added that the award will also recognise and showcase the efforts of successful rural youth and therefore support award recipients and nominees with mentors (coaching and mentoring); and encourage rural youth savings (book keeping, financial planning and applying for grants and loan schemes) to expand their businesses.
The First Rural Youth Award was held on 29 April, 2017 at Jenoi, Lower River Region (LRR) attracting more than 200 delegates. The Award has since become an annual event organised by the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) – Gambia and partners to celebrate the successes of young entrepreneurs in rural areas.
GYIN Gambia is a network that specilises on rural development and focuses on entrepreneurship, agribusiness, coaching and mentoring, ICT and community outreach programmes improving the lives and livelihood of young people in rural communities.
“Rural transformation is an effective way to overcome poverty, food insecurity and providing job opportunities through the value chain,” Ambassador Njie said.
The First Rural Youth Award 2017 was supported by the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema) and the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) The Gambia.
The first cohort of award winners in 2017 have since expanded their business, registered their businesses and successfully completed a three (3) months Youth Mentorship Programme on Enterprise Management.
The mentorship programme was implemented from 2nd October to 30th December, 2017. It was funded by the YEP Gambia, a four–year initiative supported by the European Union (EU) through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
At GYIN Gambia “we believed that connecting young innovators in rural areas with mentors is key, and it increases agricultural production and productivity, access to markets and market information services,” Ambassador Njie said.
He commend the Nema Project and YEP Gambia for funding the first award and called on them and other partners to support this year’s award, saying that the award is here to support Gambian youth, specifically those in the rural areas.
The Rural Youth Award 2018 Categories are:
1- Young Entrepreneur of the Year
2- Young Business Idea of the Year
3- Young Emerging Business of the Year
4- Young Commercial Farmer of the Year
5- Young Agribusiness of the Year
6- Young Agro-Tech of the Year
7- Young Business Innovation of the Year
8- Young Business Partner of the Year
9- Young Service Provider of the Year
10- Best Packing Products and Labelling of the Year
Aims & Objectives are:
- To encourage rural youth entrepreneurs to venture into agribusiness (production, processing and marketing);
- To recognise and showcase the efforts of successful rural youth;
- Support the award recipients and nominees with mentors (coaching and mentoring); and
- Train and encourage rural youth savings (book keeping, financial planning and applying for grants and loan schemes etc…)
- Establish rural business enterprises;
- Connect rural young innovators with mentors; and
- Increase agricultural production and productivity, access to markets and market information services.