January 4th 2023 was a historic day to celebrate in the life of The Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia.
The date marks 15th years of success in TVET education that has touched the lives of many tourism professionals who passed through this noble institute of learning that have given knowledge and skills generally to young people to serve in the tourism industry both locally and internationally.
As we celebrate 15 years of success, we also learned from the challenges we endured and those we will overcome with patience and commitment for now and for years to come, with the support of many individuals and organizations.
In acknowledging those who contributed to our success we cannot forget the pioneers who laid the foundation that formed the pillars of our success: Thanks goes to South Nottingham College now central college Nottingham College for the financial, technical and moral support they gave us for a period of 8 years, with the support of their able and dedicated staff: Helen Wilcockson, John Grey, Adam Beazley, Louise Mantle, Imran Meherban and the entire team from the college.
Special gratitude goes to our Gambian partners who also laid the foundation of ITTOG and without whom, we would not have been where we are today. Thanks to Late Kaliba Senghore, Alieu Secka, Lamin Bojang, Maimuna Jatta, Francis Mendy, Shenna Carlislie, Alhagie Bojang, Nyanya Jagne, Nyanya Jobe, Aminatta Bah, etc .
It was 15 years ago that I decided to join my visionary partner Dr Adama Bah to come together to offer our over 70 years of experience added together.
Both my Chairman, Dr. Bah and myself started at the bottom of the ladder: Dr. Bah from being a waiter to Front office and HR Manager to an Assistant Manager to Project Manager to an International Tourism Consultant; with me, starting from a hotel laborer, dish washer, receptionist, D.J, Hotel Manager, Director of Tourism among other key positions in the sector, is a testimony that we have wealth of experience to share.
As the saying goes, “birds of the same feathers fly together “. We are indeed birds of the same feather that are committed in sharing our knowledge and that wealth of experience with those who value our expertise. This institution gave us and continue to give us that opportunity to share our knowledge and quota towards the development of tourism in The Gambia and for the benefit of Gambians in a sustainable way. We are humbled by such an experience. Over the years , we trained and graduated thousands of students, some of whom are heads of important sectors both in The Gambia and internationally.
All Mighty God/ Ya Allah, we are happy and contended that you have given us the ability and foresight to be able to do this in 15 years and we thank you and pray that this institution will grow from strength to strength. In your only mercy, we pray, Amen.
As we celebrate 15th years of existence, we celebrate this day with 69 graduates in the following respective field of study:
Travel and Hospitality Level 1, Travel & Tourism Intermediate Level 2, Cookery and Pastry, Amadeus Booking System and Cabin Crew & Airport Operations.
It is also customary that each year during our graduation, we recognize six deserving Gambians some of whom are pioneers in The Tourism industry and others that have played a significant part in the development of tourism in The Gambia.
We are deeply honored to recognize the following personalities:
• Mrs Mamie Ndure Njie: 1st Gambian Woman to Establish a Restaurant “Take Away” Service.
• Mrs Luciana Sambong Awumee , 1st Gambian Female Food & Beverage Managress .
• Mrs Fatou Joko Bojang , 1st Gambian Female Housekeeper .
• Mr Paul Marone , 1st Gambian Hotel Manager
• Mrs Ndey Cham Pioneer: 2nd Generation Craft Market Vendor
• Mr Sainey Singhateh: 2nd Generation Craft Market Vendor,
This academic year we experienced very low numbers in the various courses that we are offering and this created some financial bottlenecks.
However, project we had for 2 years now did help. Over the past year we had sponsorship for 50 students for Event Planning & Management funded by The Youth Empowerment Project and also 30 students of The “No Woman Left Behind “sponsored by the Catalan Agency for cooperation and Development based in Barcelona, Spain. We have also secured sponsorship from The National Hospitality Service of The United States an amount of $5,0000 for sponsorship through a Gambia brother Ousman Conteh who serves as Vice President Operations in The Same company. We are grateful and thankful to Mr Norman Leslie 1st President of the Company for his generous donation and consideration . We are grateful and thankful to these two partners for supporting us through these sponsorships.
Our focus this academic year is to kick start the second phase of the “No Woman Left Behind” project that would focus on training the students in business and computer skill with mentorship programmes that would enhance their business skills. Thanks once more for the support from the Catalan Agency for Cooperation and Development.
As we have not been teaching Business skills and IT, we had to appeal to our partners in UK, People and Places Volunteering organization to help by providing us with the volunteers to develop the curriculum and content manual for us to be able to implement this programme.
We are happy to report that this was successfully done and we continue to have volunteers who will help us in the business mentoring programme. I am happy to introduce to you our present volunteer helping the “No Woman Left Behind” project to achieve this. She is Michele James from the UK.
We thank People and Places volunteering organization for such a support. Just to add that we have been with this organization since they started their programmes and they have been very valuable to the development of ITTOG. They have not only supported us with volunteers in skills transfer but they supported us financially too.
We intend to kickstart a new course in the Performing arts after the curriculum was validated by The NAQAA. We feel that teaching Performing art would fill a big gap that is not in existence in the Gambia. We are indeed committed in filling the gap and have signed an MOU with Ecole National des Art in Senegal to support us in this area.
Again, we wish to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed to our 15 years of valuable service to our people and country.
Special thanks to our graduation sponsors Gambia Tourism Board, TAFF Africa Global , Royal Insurance, Alieu Secka , Pa Modou Sarr , Azis Khan, Trust Bank Limited ,Unique Group, Njie BP Family , Bunna Njie and Charbel Hobeika.
I cannot leave without thanking our host, the West African Insurance Institute, The Director General and his staff are angels, they treat us very well over here and we pray to God, Allah for this cordial relationship to continue.
Thank you everyone for your time in joining us on this important occasion to be held on Saturday 25th March 2023 at 12.Noon . God Bless you all.
Sheikh Tejan Nyang,
Head of School.