Minister Bayo presides over RDI graduation ceremony

The minister of Lands and Regional Government, Momodou AKI Bayo, Saturday presided over the graduation ceremony of the 30th batch of students of the Rural Development Institute (RDI) in Mansakonko.

Minister BayoAt the graduation ceremony, Minister Bayo commended the President of the Republic, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J Jammeh Babili Mansa, noting that it is during his administration that a diploma in development studies was introduced at the Rural Development Institute.

He congratulated the graduates on their commitment and dedication towards the completion of their two-year certificate course in community development.

The Lands minister assured the students and the management of the institute that most of the challenges highlighted by the management would be immediately addressed and promised to provide two computers to the institute before the start of their next intake in October this year.

The minister further promised that before 2016, the Rural Development Institute would be partially renovated, while challenging the management at the institute to make RDI a degree-awarding institute.

According to him, the development of Gambia depends on people and that community development cuts across the board. He thus urged the graduates to respect the community and serve them to the best of their ability.

Pierre Gomez, associate professor of Comparative Literature, and dean at the School of Arts and Sciences of the University of The Gambia, as the guest speaker, reminded the graduates to respect elders, respect people’s belief (religion and culture), have adequate knowledge of their subject area and update themselves regularly on new developments in the area.

“Always value the knowledge and experience of the community, put yourselves at the service of the community wherever and whenever needed, use experiential approaches and techniques rather than lectures to enhance understanding, share and encourage the people to participate in the activities,” Gomez stated.

As graduates of the Rural Development Institute, he noted, they are trained as community development animators or facilitators and as community animators in rural communities they are expected to interact with the most vulnerable, isolated, deprived and poorest of the poor of this country.

Ousainou Jobateh, the director of the Department of Community Development, disclosed that the Rural Development Institute was established by government of The Gambia to train polyvalent development extension agents to improve the human resource base of the Department of Community Development, and the development partners at large.

He informed that the institute conducts both pre-service and in-service training, as well as tailor-made courses for partners in development.

Jobateh further revealed that government is the principal funder of the training of community development assistants through payment of trainees’ monthly allowance, payment of staff salaries and allowances and other forms of support through the Department of Community Development.

The principal of Rural Development Institute, Alasana Minteh, indicated that the graduates had undergone a two-year intensive course and that over the years the institute has made significant achievements.

Commenting on the challenges, Minteh pointed out that RDI is under-staffed and appealed to the Ministry to assist the institute in this area, adding that the school needs bus and renovation.