Minister of Youth and Sports, Bakary Y. Badjie presenting the award to the President
By Fatou Sillah
His Excellency President Adama Barrow presided over the 10th National Gold Award of the President’s International Award in Banjul.
The President’s International Award, The Gambia (PIA), is a government agency under the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It was enacted by the National Assembly in 2015 and is fully licensed by the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. The PIA works to provide young people in The Gambia with a sense of responsibility by instilling in them developmental and livelihood skills.
The PIA award program and vocational center are headquartered in Bakau. The award program is a balanced, progressive program of extracurricular activities for young people aged 14 and above. It challenges participants to explore new opportunities and develop their full potential.
At the recent award ceremony, His Excellency President Adama Barrow spoke about the importance of the PIA program. He said that it provides young people with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in life. He also encouraged young people to participate in the program and make the most of this opportunity.
“For many years now, the award program, known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, has equipped young persons with opportunities through well-structured programs designed to boost the moral standing, skills and knowledge of its participants. It has challenged them as well to explore new opportunities and make the most of their talent and potential to excel,” the president said.
The president emphasized that youth matters are at the forefront of the country’s recovery and national development plans. To illustrate this, he said the government has expanded the PIA programs and upgraded the Gambia Technical Training Institute into a University of Science and Technology to train more young people. Additionally, he said that the first phase of the University of The Gambia (UTG) campus in Faraba is now complete, and classes are scheduled to begin this semester.
“Youth matters are prominently prioritized in our recovery-focused national development plan. To cite examples, in addition to expanding the PIA’s programs, we have upgraded the Gambia Technical Training Institute into a University of Science and Technology to train as many youths as possible. Also, the first face of the UTG campus in Faraba is complete, and classes will start this semester,” he states.
Bakary Y. Badjie, the Minister of Youth and Sports, urged participants not to perceive the award merely as a certificate or a medal. Instead, he encourages them to regard it as a powerful symbol of resilience, courage, and unwavering dedication to serving their country—both in the past and in the years to come.
“We hope that the award will not just be seen as a certificate and as a gold medal, but it will be seen as a symbol of resilience, of courage, and of dedication to service to the country in the past and in the coming months and years. We hope that the award as you have it today will remind you that not just are you a citizen, but a citizen that has a responsibility to your country, a citizen that has a responsibility to your community. To ensure that you work towards the development of these communities you come from and, in general, towards the development and advancement of the country,” he said.