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Building a future in The Gambia through educational mobility

Studying abroad: An information event showed young Gambians how to get there.

Building a future in The Gambia through educational mobility

Studying abroad is a dream for many young people in The Gambia, especially for university graduates. Clients attending an event at the GGAC premises at Westfield Junction, Serrekunda were given information on the various options, scholarships and application procedures.

The event was run by the The Gambian-German Advisory Centre for Jobs, Training and Reintegration (GGAC) in cooperation with The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), the European Union Delegation in The Gambia and other partners. The 38 participants included students, schoolchildren, university graduates, teachers and lecturers.

Helping to make life better in the country by returning

Alumni at the event spoke about scholarship programmes, such as the scholarships awarded by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD) and scholarships under the Erasmus+ education and training programme. The alumni also talked with participants about these programmes, shared their own experiences and gave application tips.

“Our aim is to explain to the young people all the opportunities that there are to travel legally for educational purposes”, says Kawsu Sillah, the GGAC coordinator. He also made a request to the participants: that they return to The Gambia after studying abroad to help make life better in the country. That would mean that everyone can benefit.

One of the success stories is former scholarship holder Yahya Touray. He was granted a scholarship by the Moroccan government to study in Morocco and returned to The Gambia after completing his studies. Yahya initially worked in The Gambia as a junior advisor for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). He later went on to be a Gambian inclusion officer at the Medical Research Council.

“It’s our social responsibility as alumni to help other Gambians to get a scholarship”, he states. “But the scholarship holders should also feel committed to returning to The Gambia with new knowledge and skills after completing their studies, to assist with the country’s development efforts.”

The centre offers guidance and support

Another of the participants was Omar, who studied History and Political Science at the University of The Gambia. He has for some time been thinking about going abroad to continue his studies. “The event gave me a great opportunity to dispel any doubts and obtain the right information about scholarship options”, he explains. He is especially grateful for the centre’s services in assisting him during his application process and giving him advice. “I’d like to go abroad for my professional development and then come back to The Gambia to give something back to my home country”, says Omar.

Participant Fatoumatta, a student, was also very enthusiastic about the centre’s support services: “Taking part in the event finally gave me a sense of direction”. Now she knows how to start the application procedure on her mobile phone. And she can always get in touch with the centre if she has questions at any stage in her application.

Omar (centre) wishes to study abroad.

The event also provided clarity for Basiru, who works as a teacher and who wanted to know how to fill out a scholarship application. He can now pass on this knowledge to his pupils. He himself was admitted to a second degree programme at a German university. But he didn’t have the money to start his studies. Now he also knows the scholarships and financing options that are available to him. This has given him new hope that he will be able to start his studies in Germany after all.

Returning to The Gambia well trained

The Gambia is still one of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa from which a large number of irregular migrants arrive in Europe. The journey involved is very dangerous and life in another country is often different to expectations. So it’s all the more important that people are informed about the dangers and problems, and that they’re aware of the alternatives. That too was one of the goals set by the event organisers.

As of: 01/2023

The following organisations were also involved in organising the event:

  • The University of The Gambia
  • The Gambia Immigration Department
  • The Department of Labour, Public Employment Service Unit
  • The National Youth Council
  • Selected TVET institutions

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