Development is every community's goal
22-11-2019 | di COOPI

Development is every community's goal

One of the elders in Jakoto, a village in the Gambia, told us: "Development is like a boat. It is not up to the individual to make the boat arrive at its destination. It is up to all of us.”

Powerful words indeed that sum up the "No more back way - Contrast with irregular migration in the North and Central River regions of The Gambia" project, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and that aims to provide development opportunities for young people in Gambia.

During the last twelve months, COOPI was strongly supported by community structures, civil society organizations and public bodies.

In the community of Jakoto, for example, thanks to the support of the local organization AVISU - Association for Village Support, the young people of the association JAKOTO DENTAL KAWRAL 4H KAFO were able to benefit from a training course in agriculture and farming as well as a course in financial literacy and micro-enterprises management.

A well and a vegetable garden were also created by COOPI in Jakoto. By building these structures, COOPI has entrusted to the young people of the association, by providing them with seeds and agricultural tools as well. In addition, following an agreement signed with the Department of Agriculture, the Regional Director has intervened with the technician in horticulture to support the association preparing the garden and planting the seeds - tomatoes, eggplant and cabbage. With the support of COOPI and AVISU, the association AKOTO DENTAL KAWRAL 4H KAFO has also hired an expert to build a farm that will host 100 chicks.

Chicks' farm

Given the lack of training centres in the Central River Region, COOPI has involved one of the most important agricultural training bodies in Gambia - the Njawara Training Centre of the North Bank Region. Together, they organised ad hoc training courses for young people from seven youth associations in the village of Kaur, focusing on chickens and goats farminh, horticulture, brick moulding, financial literacy and micro-enterprises management.

14 community structures in the North Bank and Central River regions were involved and the Village Development Committees, a governmental structure, made it possible to monitor that the whole village, and not just the youth associations, took part in the activities.

Other associations, which had not yet been formalised, were supported during the registration process with the Chamber of Commerce, while the majority have been registered with the National Youth Council, that can support them in improving and expanding their activities.

38 Income Generating Activities were created and focused on horticulture, poultry breeding, goat breeding, brick moulding, sales of agricultural products and grain and rice processing.

Rice processing machine

In many communities, young people have been involved in both agricultural development and awareness-raising activities on the risks of irregular migration. This has helped communities get on the "boat", looking after their common destination, without having to sacrifice anyone on the routes of irregular migration.