Three extraordinary young Gambian secondary school students and their teacher chaperone have been selected for participation in the 2018 Pan-African Youth Leadership Program (PAYLP). This fully-funded three-week program will take place from August 4 – August 25, 2018 at various colleges, universities, and institutions throughout the United States. The young scholars are Nyajay Satta Braima, Fatima Samateh, and Ebrima Juwara, representing respectively: Tahir, Nasir and Nusrat Senior Secondary Schools. The adult participant, Mr. Draman Janneh, represents Armitage Senior Secondary School. They were selected from among almost 100 students from U.S. Embassy Banjul’s educational networks across the country. The Gambian scholars recently participated in an orientation session at the U.S. Embassy. Senior staff at the Embassy briefed the participants, congratulated them and wished them well in what should be a life-changing experience. Participants are urged to apply their experiences in service to their communities when they return. The scholars left Banjul for the United States on August 3.
Ebrima Juwara is an Honor Roll student who achieved all A’s in his math and science classes. He is active in community service, serving as vice president of his school’s Young Farmer’s Club. In his spare time, he tutors younger students in math and science, and established a waste management program in his community to discourage illegal dumping. Upon his return, he would like to encourage his peers in environmental sustainability.
Fatima Samateh is a solid student who is outspoken and confident in campaigning against childhood marriage, and female genital mutilation. Both of these cultural practices are unfortunately common in her community. She participates in the Competitive College Club and peer health education program and wants to someday become a medical doctor. Fatima comes from Basse, the regional capital of The Gambia’s most remote region, where women’s contributions to public life are not valued. She is passionate about changing this attitude by empowering girls in her community.
Nyajay Braima is a good student who is active in her school’s Competitive College Club and drama club. She wants to be a film maker or actress after she completes her education. In the meantime, she is also a peer health education and participates in a girls’ advocacy group. Returning, she would like to establish a local radio campaign against FGM.
Draman Janneh is an experienced educator with over 13 years’ experience in teaching. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Higher Teacher’s Certificate (HTC) from the University of The Gambia and The Gambia College respectively. He is currently a Senior Master and Head of the Language Department at the state’s only rural boarding high school, Armitage Senior Secondary School. A part-time lecturer at The Gambia College, Janneh is also the Teacher Coordinator for the United States Embassy Banjul’s Competitive College Club (CCC) in Armitage. As a CCC Coordinator, Janneh efficiently runs the Club’s academic and community service programs for the 25 most competitive students at Armitage. Over the years, he has provided critical mentorship and leadership that prepared many of the rural youngsters for universities in The Gambia and abroad, including the United States. He has initiated creative pedagogical methods, especially for English Language and Mathematics, which contributed significantly to his Club’s successes.