8 Gambian youths return from YALI in Ghana

At least eight Gambian youths; namely Sheikh Omar Sillah, Nfamara Keita, Mustapha Kah, Fatou Bintou Sallah, Fatoumatta Saho, Abdoulie Bah, Alieu Bangura, Omar Darboe, on Saturday, 5th September arrived in Banjul after attending a five-week intensive training as part of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

The initiative was launched by the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. The YALI Regional Leadership Centres were opened this year (2015) across Africa to extend the leadership training besides the Mandela Washington Fellowship that is hosted in the USA.

Hosted by Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, a total of 100 participants from eight countries across West Africa (The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Togo, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Sierra Leone) were recruited and underwent the Leadership training from 31st July – 4th September, 2015.

Speaking to the press during a welcome reception at his office, Sheikh Omar Sillah, the secretary general of The Legacy, expressed gratitude to be part of the pioneering class as first cohort of participants in Accra.

The programme in Accra he added, is designed for a total of 17 weeks with 5 weeks in person training and the remaining weeks distributed into internship, mentorship and community service.

SG Sillah, who doubles as the former secretary general of The Gambia College Students’ Union, said the modules were developed by leading universities from USA and Ghana, international and local organisations, as well as individual experts in the field of leadership.

“Focusing on the 5 weeks training, we treated modules on leadership and accountability, ethics, contemporary issues affecting Africa, as well as one elective from (civic leadership, entrepreneurship and public sector management). Theoretical contents were put into context using case studies, real life organisational analysis as well as site visits among many other approaches.”

He described the training as a game changing one, as they were equipped with various forms of leadership training modules, which, he said better prepared them well for leadership roles in their various endeavours.

Sillah added that they acquired modern concepts, policies and practices to effectively manage people.

“Thanks to the programme, we pioneered a project called HEAL Africa and I am glad to announce that we have legally registered this project in Sierra Leone and the networks are expected to expand across Africa soon. This project is intended to furnish Africa’s problem as regards Health, Education, Agriculture and Leadership (HEAL),” he said.

Together with his organisation, SG Sillah announced, they will work to empower and inspire Gambian youths, communicate their goals, broaden their awareness and enhance their visibility through guidance and counseling programmes, among the host of other services they offer.

He said his participation in this programme was motivated by The Legacy’s commitment to equip its members with the relevant knowledge and requisite skills to contribute to shaping and brightening the future of young people in The Gambia and Africa.

He finally extended gratitude to the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, the US government and partners of YALI for investing in the future of Africa.

“If you don’t like something, change it; if you cannot change it, change your attitude,” he concluded.