DOT mobilizes and inspires all underserved and disadvantaged young people with digital literacy, 21st-century skills and the self-confidence that will enable them to thrive in an inclusive digital economy. We’re proud to support YES Africa, alongside the Rangoonwala foundation, who over the last 2 weeks brought communities together from Serrekunda (near the capital Banjul) and Penyem (central to seven villages) for a two-week youth engagement program, ‘Inspire Back Home”. The project centered around the critical problem of youth migration to Europe.
DOT supports youth to become innovators and leaders, to create and apply digital solutions that have positive impact in their communities.
During the project, YES Africa also conducted its official launch. YES Africa Foundation was founded by Tairu Kujabi and a local board in memory of his father, a remarkable Gambian, Salifu Kujabi. Salifu dedicated his life to the service, inspiration, and support of the young people both in The Gambia and across Africa. Tairu is taking this vision forward to support young people to develop sustainable livelihoods where they live and for their communities to be a place for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive and hence contribute to the development of their communities.
The ‘Inspire Back Home” project was in direct response to loss of talent the Gambia faces due to the lack of local employment and skills training opportunities. The alarming number of dispersed youth has led to national stress, increased poverty, food insecurity, increased drug abuse and deviant behaviour which all threatens the peace, stability and development of the nation. Youth have insufficient engagement with the government and communities. The answer for most is to venture on dangerous journeys to Europe with the hope their lives and that of their families they left behind will change on arrival to a European country.
The ‘Inspire Back Home” project addressed this head on through three main activities:
Sport: During the project the YES Foundation organised football and basketball competitions as a means to gather youth to engage, network with their peers and to create an opportunity for sharing experiences, learning and ideas. The YES Foundation partnered with The Gambia Football Association to inspire youth to engage.
Film and Panel Discussion Nights: The YES Foundation organised two cinema nights in Serrekunda to watch a drama film – The Pirogue – that follows the life of African youth who illegally migrate to Europe and the challenges they face on their journey. The event helped youth realise the potential risks of the dangerous and illegal journey to Europe. The event also included a panel discussion with returnees and their families who discussed their own experiences.
Skills Building: Speaking to youth and understanding what skills they would like to acquire allowed YES Africa to build an agenda of taster sessions for activities such as tye dying, technical training on satellite installation and repair and an introduction to digital skills (basic Information and Communications Technology). Giving the opportunity for young people to learn, and apply that learning to their communities was a central ambition of this project. The insights gained from speaking to the youth, and a newly founded Youth Council, will also decide the direction and focus of YES Africa, ensuring their approach is co-designed with youth for youth.
““I can tell you, YES Africa Foundation has already inspired the young people of Penyem. We are indeed grateful for giving us this opportunity and building our capacity in skilled training”
Yaya Nyassi (Penyem youth group (partner) ”
Summarising the week, Tairu Kujabi, Executive Officer YES Africa, said, “The Inspire back home project though a small-scale project has inspired a lot of youths and has given them the zeal to get up and acquire more skills to develop themselves.”
Keep an eye out for YES Africa’s next steps. Having spoken to youth and working alongside them to build solutions to their communities’ problems, we’re confident they’ll create some serious impact.