The sixth annual GASAM week kicked off on Monday, July 15th 2019. It started with the president of the Gambia Students’ Association in Morocco, Mr. Momodou Muctarr Jallow, giving the opening remarks during which he thanked the sponsors of this year’s events and the dignitaries present. He talked about how GASAM week has evolved in the past six years. "Back then, it used to be just about sports and getting together but now it usually comprises of educational programs such as conferences, workshops, debates and quiz competitions" Mr. Jallow added.
The theme of this year’s GASAM week is Citizenship and African Development and Mr. Muctarr put emphasis on the importance of coming together and contributing the little we have to national development.
After the president’s speech, a short video was played that highlighted the main activities carried out in 2018 by the students studying in the Kingdom. before a welcoming remark by the representative of the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI) who welcomed the students at their hostel and assured the association of their unflinching support when ever they can.
The Ambassador of the Republic of The Gambia to Morocco, Madam Saffie Lowe, gave the keynote speech. She talked about how GASAM week is about bringing students together under one umbrella to foster fraternity, unity, support, interaction. She made mention of the important fact that Third World countries would continue to be dominated by First World countries if they continue depending on them. "We need to pave our own way and entrepreneurship is one of the ways" she alluded.
She went further to advise the students to focus on their studies and contribute their quarter to the development of The Gambia. She urged the students to make the best use of their time in Morocco as they literally have no time.
The Ambassador’s speech was followed by a group photo session and an interlude for snacks before the panel conference commenced. This conference was centered on the main theme of the GASAM Week that is Citizenship and African Development with three sub-themes namely, Youths and Politics, Health in Nation Building and Investment/Entrepreneurship for our three eloquent panelist.
Mr. Yahya Touray, who has just gotten his bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management and also has an associate degree in law talked on youths and politics. Mr. Touray spoke on the fact that we have a young population hence the need for youths’ participation in politics.
According to Mr. Touray, the main reason why Gambian youths shy away from politics is because they have a lot of misconceptions as to what it’s all about and if we want to change this, we need to introduce civic education into our education system and expose our young ones to programs that are political in nature. He also made mention of the fact that The Gambia need to have laws that ensure the separation of powers so that our leaders could be held accountable.
Ms. Sainabou Cham was the panelist who talked on health in nation building. Ms. Cham is a second year medical student so she drew from her personal experiences and aspirations as she talked on this important topic. Ms. Cham spoke about how a nation that doesn’t have a healthy population simply cannot develop because people won’t be able to perform their duties but she was also quick to make it very clear that when she talked about health, she doesn’t only mean the physical aspect but the mental as well.
"Mental health is almost like a taboo subject and our health sector is sorely lagging behind in this area" added Ms. Cham. She also talked about how we need to change our mindset regarding mental illnesses and how we need the government and the private sector to invest more in the health sector of the country.
The third panelist, Ms. Awa Jagne, is a second year Business Administration and Management student. Ms. Jagne reminded the gathering of how badly the Gambian economy needed the boost that investment and entrepreneurship would give it. She talked about the fact that The Gambia isn’t a conducive environment for investment due to the high taxation and the various other laws that are not favorable for entrepreneurship. She spoke about how the government needed to change these laws and how Gambians should embrace the spirit of investment because when you invest you are not only making your life better but you’re creating something that future generations can benefit from and the country at large.
This year's GASAM Week was sponsored by Polyclinque Internationale de Rabat, Agence Marocaine de Coopération Internationale Institut National des Postes et Télécommunications, Ecole de Gouvernance et d'Economie, Ibou Diop
Reported By: Adam Nyang
Edited by: Ousman L Camara