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PIA Awards 556 Young Participants

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The PIA awardees
(Photo: KMC Facebook page)

By Landing Ceesay

The President’s International Award (PIA) recognized 556 young participants from the Kanifing Municipality on Saturday.

Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council, Talib Ahmed Bensouda presided over the ceremony and swore-in the awardees.

In his keynote address, Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council, Talib Ahmed Bensouda said annually, thousands of young people across the world participate in the PIA award and that the Gambia has one of the best participation rates in Africa.

He said the criterion for gaining an award is individual improvement through persistence and achievement, taking into account the individual’s initial capabilities and without any element of competition between participants.

“This program is held to recognise the young talents who have made an immense contribution to our society during your award program through your community service. These brilliant young people have exhibited such qualities that will not only help them in achieving their goals but also bring glory of success to our Municipality,” Mayor Bensouda said.

Minister of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez, and others graced the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Pierre Gomez, Minister of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology said the PIA vision and mission is in line with his Ministry’s Strategy towards an innovative tertiary and higher education systems that can respond adequately to the country’s development aspirations.

He said his Ministry’s five-year Strategic Plan outlines its transformative agenda of upgrading the public tertiary education institutions (MDI, Gambia College and GTTI) into degree awarding institutions, with GTTI already transformed into the University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET).

“USET’s new campus foundation stone was laid last Saturday in a High level ceremony presided over by HE President Adama Barrow in Brikama. The new University is currently running three (3) engineering programmes namely, Civil, Mechanical and Electronic/Electrical; while other programmes will be mounted soon. The main objective of the transformation is to revamp TVET subsectors with new reflections to reduce dependency on expatriates and harness the growth of the ceremony by promoting critical thinking, inclusiveness and innovation,” Professor Gomez said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Nfamara Dabo of ChildFund International, The Gambia said the award is a non-formal educational programme that provides young people with the environment and necessary skill sets for discovering their hidden talents and potentials for positively contributing to their own personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of their state.

Mr. Dabo said the award enables young participants to discover the World from a different perspective and angle.

“Mr. Chairman, to realise and discover the world better, the International Award Programme prepares a young person in the form of providing life changing activities called Mandatory Sections of the Award. These Sections or Activities come in the form of rendering valuable voluntary Community Service, participating in a recreational or sporting activity, acquiring life or livelihood skills, initiating and implementing a residential project in a community in need,” he said.

The Award ceremony took place at a local hotel in Senegambia.

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