By MUHAMMED S. BAH
The President International Award Scheme (PIA) will be organising a National Expedition and Youth Camp scheduled to take place from the 17 – 23 August, 2016. The event will be held at Fatima Senior Secondary School in Bwiam, West Coast Region (WCR).
This was disclosed by members of the National Organising Committee (NOC) during a press briefing held at the PIA office in Bakau, on Tuesday, 17 August, 2016.
The theme of the expedition is “You have more in You than you think”.
Speaking at the briefing, Lamin Saidykhan, PIA Program Manager, who also doubles as the Chairperson of the NOC, said the National Expedition under the Residential Project is targeting about 150 participants across the country such as school children, national youth organizations as well as other private NGOs.
“The participants are within the age bracket of 14 to 25 years and as a youth development institution and a member of satellite institutions of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the call for all inclusiveness in national development and reaching out to marginalized and grass root communities is a responsibility we pride ourselves to take whole heartedly,” disclosed Mr. Saidykhan NOC Chairperson.
Highlighting the objectives of the camp and the national expedition, Mr. Saidykhan noted that the event is meant to create, strengthen and develop sustainable collaboration and partnership between young people and the communities. He added that it will as well encourage young people to adopt and develop livelihood and technical skills among many other objectives.
Dilating on the state of preparedness of the event, Abdou Rahim King, member of the NOC, noted that the venue at Bwiam is set as well as other necessary logistics.
He also noted that the targeted participants are from the school, community, Gold Award Holders Association, national organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations.
According to him, there will be different levels of Award such as Bronze, Silver and Gold. They will trek, 10Km, 20Km, and 40Km respectively at various starting points he said.
Mr. King added that there will be series of capacity building trainings on various topics, sharing skills, integrational dialogue, cultural activities as well as community services.
In her welcoming remarks, Rohey Fofana, PIA Field Officer dilated on the outcomes of the programme. She said it is to promote understanding and sense of community services amongst participants, developed leadership capacity of young people and promote volunteerism as a core and fundamental Gambian value and to adventure and discover the life of others.
Baboucarr Kebbeh, member of the NOC said “the Gambia is challenged by the negative socio-cultural perceptions about skills acquisition and development by society which act as the main barriers that underpinned the mass participation of young people in such areas”.
According to Mr. Kebbeh, young people are almost three times more likely to be underemployed than adults and continuously expose to lower jobs, greater labour market and inequalities.
“This is why education is key to determinants of success in the labour market,” he remarked.
Giving a brief history of PIA, Mr. Kebbeh noted that since its inception in 1979, it has challenged 25000 youth through a balance progressive youth programme of the international award and the number has been increasing over the years.
He also cited some of the prominent key personnel who are now working with both government and private institutions who passed through the PIA.
He said the objectives of the national expedition is aimed at bringing young people across the country from different works of life, to come together and share best practices and have great experience which will help shape their lives for a better future.
The press briefing was chaired by Fatoumatta Fatty, NOC member.