The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) in partnership with the UN- Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the UNTECH and The United Nations Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries on Monday, commenced its capacity building workshop for technical experts on the Introduction to Earth Observation (EO) and the use of Geospatial Information Technology applications for sustainable development.
In his opening remark, the Permanent Secretary of MoHERST, Mod A.K Secka, underlined the significance of Science, Technology and Innovation as critical tools for poverty alleviation, sustainable development and the transformation of nations.
“It is important to say that, this one-week training course in which local experts will be trained in the use and interpretation of satellite imagery with a specific focus on disaster risk management is relevant and timely since as a country we have also not been spared with the effects of disasters through floods, storms and other climate change-related disasters,” he said.
According to the PS, the training came at a time when the ministry has set up a 65 percent policy turn-around of in support and scholarship given to students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and the creation of a center of excellence at The Gambia Technical and Training Institute (GTTI), which subsequently would culminate into transforming GTTI to a University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology.
“It is therefore hoped that the training in geospacer technologies would be in the near future anchored in the USET programmes and eventually, have a center of excellence in this field of study,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary went on to inform the public that the Ministry of Higher Education, in partnership with the United Nations Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries (UNTBLC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to conduct a Technology Needs Assessment of MSMEs to determine their technology needs and challenges, increase productivity, enhance the quality of goods and services as well as increase competitiveness and job creation.
“This needs assessment will go a long way in complimenting this training as technologies in geospacer would also be included in the study,” he emphasized.
Marisol Lopez Meda, the Capacity Development Expert from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) expressed gratitude to the partners and sponsors of the program, likewise participants for their interest.
“It is my first time in The Gambia, I haven’t seen much, but I see a lot of energy in this country so far,” she said, adding, “I hope participants enjoy the workshop”.