The first-ever national youth award ceremony is slated for Saturday 29 April 2017, at the Farmers Training Centre in Jenoi in the Lower River Region.
The ceremony is organized by The Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN Gambia) in collaboration with partners such as National Youth Council.
International Trade Centre (ITC) through the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) The Gambia, European Union Trust Fund for Africa, the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema), and the National Youth Council (NYC) supported the event.
Momodou Edrissa Njie, Executive Director of Global Youth Innovation The Gambia (GYIN), said the goal of the project is to reduce poverty among rural women and young people through improved productivity based on sustainable land and water management practices.
Mariam Saine, Rural Youth Award Committee member and financial controller of GYIN, said the idea for the first-ever Rural Youth Award stemmed from recommendations from that National Youth Summer Camp held in Jenoi, Lower River Region of The Gambia, and one of the 11-point recommendations was to organise a Rural Youth Award-celebrating youths in Entrepreneurship, Agribusiness and Information Technology.
Saine revealed that some of the challenges faced by rural entrepreneurs are stringent tax laws and lack of guarantees to raise loans.
According to Saine, difficulty in raising capital through equity and the dependence on small money lenders for loans for which they charge discriminating interest rates and property cost are also impeding factors to rural entrepreneurs.
Saine said many rural youths are unable to make savings even though savings help young entrepreneurs to invest as well as to access loans from both commercial and financial institutions.
One of GYIN's Board of Directors, Alhagie M. Sarr, said the importance of recognizing and rewarding the efforts of rural youth could not be over-emphasised, adding that the youth play a vital role in the socio-economic development of any nation.
"Creating opportunities for the youth, which makes them realize their potentials and talents, is a step in the right direction," Sarr pointed out.
Another member of GYIN, Bakary E.K. Jammeh, urged the youth to engage in agriculture.