By Bekai Njie
The Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) – a project designed for women and youth in The Gambia is expected to create 3000 sustainable jobs for women and youth across the country.
Funded by the European Union (EU), the programme aims to contribute to stabilising the economic, social and security situation of the country during the democratic transition by facilitating social inclusion and employment of the youth and women, with a specific emphasis on promoting gender equality and addressing climate change.
The government of The Gambia, the EU, UNCDF and ITC on Tuesday hosted the official launch of the project at a local hotel in Kololi. The lunching was followed by a press conference in which relevant elements of the project were highlighted.
Speaking at the opening event, the Country Rep. of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, said jobs create for women and youth is key for The Gambia to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She observes that failure to let women participate in labour market deters economic development for a country. “Meeting the target of creating 3000 jobs for women and youths would be a tremendous achievement,” she said.
Juldeh Ceesay, the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs acknowledged that creating employment for women and youth is vital, and that this project is in support of the President Adama Barrow’s priorities.
“Youth are the backbone of our economy,” she said, while advising the young people to take advantage of the project.
Stéphane Meert, head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to The Gambia, pointed out that creating jobs for women and youth remains a general challenge, advising that it should be a priority for all.
He spoke about the vitality of The Gambia’s National Development Plan, saying it’s welcome by both Gambian people and the international community.
He finally called on all stakeholders involved to see the project as theirs and take advantage of it.
Sophie De Coninck, Africa programme manager, Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility of UNCDF, at the press conference, said the project will address climate change related problems and give special consideration to rural women in terms of skills and access to finance.
Maria Perdomo, Youth Finance, Global specialist, UNCDF indicated that the project is sensitive about gender and that it would address gender through all its components.