For those youths who can afford to attend senior school, it is often done after working and raising the money for several years. Hence, many students in their final senior school education are considerably older than UK students and have worked for a living and have a clear view of businesses they would like to pursue. Tertiary education following secondary is also outside of the affordability of many of these students.
The programme is being lead in the UK by the Wiltshire Global Education Centre (the educational wing of MBG). In Gunjur the local NGO is TARUD (Trust Agency for Rural Development).
The Wiltshire Global Education Centre (WGEC), the educational arm of MBG, has access to and / or works with 28 secondary schools in Swindon and Wiltshire, 7 of which have partnerships with schools in The Gambia as a result of WGEC’s work over the past 22 years.
WGEC sees this project as at the core of its mission statement to promote a just and sustainable world and bring a global dimension into the learning of students both in the UK and The Gambia.
The Proposal is:-
- We repeat the competition that we have run in 2014/5 in the UK in Wiltshire and Swindon secondary schools for groups of 5 young people from Year 10 upwards. But in contrast to the programme carried out in the first year in the Gambia, we propose to hold a similar competition for pairs of young people from Gunjur who are currently in senior secondary education to produce business proposals which could create employment and wealth in Gunjur, as well as raising at school level the issue of development and the environmental impact of businesses on the community.
- The winners of the competition in Wiltshire will visit Gunjur and share their business proposal with these students of a similar age via a series of school based workshops in Gambian schools. Depending on the nature of the proposal of their business, the workshops will:-
- a) test the viability of the UK proposal in a Gambia context through discussion with young Gambian students
- b) lead to productive discussion between UK/Gambian young people on the sustainability and environmentally friendly potential of economic growth in both communities and
- c) lead to productive discussion about what is meant by ‘development’ in general terms, promoting enhanced understanding on both sides. They will also during their visit have the opportunity to share their idea for a business with groups of young people who are already involved in the business development programme in Gunjur.
- The outcomes will be that young people from diverse cultural, ethnic and faith backgrounds, from Wiltshire (UK) and Gunjur (The Gambia) will have
- engaged with and learnt from each other
- personally developed and made a contribution to their own school communities and that of their counterparts
- developed a greater awareness and understanding of the global context in which they all live
- developed their understanding of the environmental impact of development both in the UK and the Gambia
Interest in the competition will be generated through WGEC’s e-bulletin which goes monthly to all schools in Wiltshire and other media outlets with which MBG is very familiar including local BBC Radio. (The Chair of MBG is a producer for BBC Wiltshire radio). Launch meetings will be held in the North and South of the county. Experience from this year indicates that some follow up work with schools, probably involving school visits, will be required to maximise engagement.
The competition will be conducted in 3 stages:
- Students from Year 10 upwards will be invited in groups of five to express an interest in entering Stage 1 of the competition. There will be no limit to the number of schools which can take part, nor on the number of teams which can be entered from each school. Stage 1 competition will be based on a fictional scenario which will require the teams of students to produce and submit by email a full business plan for their notional enterprise which must show environmental and sustainable consideration as well as being economically sound. 4 Teams will be selected to go forward to the final, based on these business plans, with places for 2 further teams to be won in the second round.
- Over a period of three weeks, half day workshops will take place in each of the participating schools for staff and those students who have entered the competition during which
- the Gunjur context and its place in The Gambia and in the world will be investigated
- there will be a focus on small businesses in Gunjur – their nature, their viability and their environmental impact
- the question “what is development?” will be discussed
- the competition parameters will be clearly defined to the students and their lines of support established (WGEC email and phone support)
- Depending on the geographical spread of the schools, a central training event will also be considered.
- Approximately one month later, the final will take place at a convenient and neutral venue. The judging will be undertaken by a panel including representatives from MBG, Arkleton Trust and the local business community plus a member of the 2015 competition winning team. Teams will be asked to give an oral presentation of their proposal of up to 15 minutes, after which they will take part in a Q and A session. The winning team will be selected against a set of clearly defined and agreed criteria.
- The prize of a trip to Gunjur for the winning team accompanied by 1 teacher from their school and a representative from WGEC, and hopefully an Arkleton trustee will take place at a mutually agreed time. Accommodation in the village will also be agreed with the school, and will be partly determined by the age of the students and the school’s safeguarding and risk assessment policies
In The Gambia
Meanwhile the competition will be promoted amongst students from Gunjur in secondary schools in the Kombo South region of The Gambia (in which Gunjur is situated) through head teachers, staff and channels which have been long established (local radio, leaflets to kabilos (wards) in Gunjur etc). This process will start during the visit in October 2015 to the Gambia of this year’s winning team who will spend at least one day working with groups of senior secondary students and discussing their proposal with them.
In pairs, Gunjur students from secondary schools in Kombo South will be invited to submit entrepreneurial, innovative business proposals which they consider will make a difference to the community in terms of employment and wealth creation, with consideration of environmental impact and sustainability. They will be given access to staff in MBG’s partner NGO, TARUD (who are currently managing the Youth Business development programme in Gunjur) and active, successful business people in the community (tailors, retail businesses, beekeeper, hairdresser etc) to give them support and advice as they develop their proposals.
Two months after the advertising of the competition each pair will have submitted an outline plan for a business to a standard format which will include setting up costs, projected income, risks, numbers expected to be employed in the business etc and will be invited to give a presentation in front of their Headteacher, an Arkleton Trustee, a member of MBG/WGEC, a member of the Gunjur Community Link committee and TARUD and a representative of the Gambian winning team in the previous year. The winning team from the UK will be present at the event but not involved in the judging process.
The winning 3 pairs i.e. 6 students will each receive a grant of £150 towards a course of their choice (on acceptance by and admission to the institution) at either the Gambian Technical Training Institute (GTTI), Gambia College (teacher’s training) or the University of The Gambia to further their education thereby ensuring maximum participation. (Current course fees are approximately £100 at GTTI)
This proposal represents a development of the current MBG/TARUD programme which has for the past 18 months, been supporting entrepreneurial business projects in Gunjur, through loans, and is also funding the training of 8 students in a variety of courses at the GTTI.