Diploma programme in Community Development Studies launched

The permanent secretary one at the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government, Saihou Sanyang, Saturday launched a 9-month National Diploma in Community Development Studies programme at the Rural Development Institute in Mansakonko.

In his statement, the permanent secretary said the institute for the past 30 years has been engaged in training of polyvalent community development assistants at certificate level, normally last for two years, during which trainees are exposed to both theories and practical development issues.

He informed that the 9 months programme will cover the following core and selective modules: issues in development concepts and theory, community development practice, agriculture, climate change and environment, disaster risk reduction and planning, project planning, analysis and development, gender, culture and human rights, social science research, development and extension communication, governance administration and development, human resource management and development, public policy and social development, among others.

The elective modules, he highlighted, would include the following: advocacy, resource mobilisation and partnership, information communication and technology, entrepreneurship and business development service, development communication, project planning and management, micro credit and development.

The permanent secretary went on to disclose that as a start 10 community development assistants of the Department of Community Development, who are currently in the field will be identified through the various field officers and others who are interested in the programme will be given chance to apply at a fee to be determined by the institute and the department.

He described the programme as a step in the right direction, noting that it is in line with the vision of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J Jammeh Babili Mansa. This, he said, will go a long way in improving the human resource base of the department in particular and the nation at large.

PS Sanyang called on development partners such as NGOs and the entire nation to tap this golden opportunity availed by the country.

He reminded that over the past years, series of efforts have been embarked on to further build the capacity of community development assistants such as pursuing diploma courses in PAID-WA in Cameroon and other higher trainings in other foreign countries.

However, he indicated, the coming of the University of The Gambia, through the leadership of His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yayha A.J.J Jammeh Babili Mansa, has helped to fill some of the skills gaps.

“There still exist middle level skills gaps not only in Department of Community Development but other development agencies as well to be filled and hence the need for the diploma certificate. Since 1984, the institute together with the Department of Community Development has been trying hard to move a step further than certificate level”.

He revealed that a special study was some time in 2012/2013 commissioned to assess the certificate programme and determine prospects for running a diploma course. “This study was successfully conducted and results have been pushing both the Department of Community Development and the Ministry to pursue the introduction of a course in RDI,” he stated.

According to him, the department also made some consultations with relevant institutions such as the University of The Gambia on offering a diploma at the Institute.