UNCDF teamed up with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Gambian government to develop ways to expand and diversify opportunities for people seeking jobs that require a much-needed skillset, providing them with better and more stable sources of income. This, in turn, will also reduce unemployment and irregular migration. As Senegal completely surrounds The Gambia, many job seekers opt to leave the country for better job opportunities.
The European Union (EU) saw that this initiative was necessary to curb youth unemployment and encourage women to live productive lives with sustainable income. ITC has an array of interesting capacity-building programs. At the same time, UNCDF manages assessments in rural and urban areas to find out what the employment needs are for specific groups and villages. This is how the partnership came about, the first of its kind in the country, named the Jobs, Skills, and Finance (JSF) Programme.
The capacity-building programs focus mainly on providing technical skills, but they also have an entrepreneurial growth aspect. Yusupha Keita, Technical Advisor and Coordinator for Skills Development explained that the program goes into communities to identify the capacities that need development. He said: “When it comes to capacity building, we look for programs that are relevant, accessible, and of good quality.”
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